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A statement from Sinopec said the Sinopec Exploration Southern Company, a Sinopec subsidiary, will conduct research on the exploration, development and production of shale gas with ConocoPhillips China in the Qijiang block, an area located in the southwestern Sichuan Basin, where rich shale gas is deeply embedded.
ConocoPhillips will carry out two-dimensional seismic surveys and drill two wells in the block.
Sources at Sinopec said the deal will have great significance in terms of evaluating shale gas reserves in the region and will help improve Sinopec's shale gas development techniques.
China is estimated to hold the world's biggest reserves of shale gas, enough to support the country's gas consumption for nearly 200 years, Moody's said in March.
Domestic oil producers and refiners are shifting parts of their resources to the unconventional energy, as limited oil reserves and unstable imports are making it harder to meet the country's energy demand.
In April, Sinopec acquired one-third of the equity of Devon Energy Corp's five shale gas assets in the US for about $2.44 billion.