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China to produce 30 billion cubic meters of shale gas by 2020

(People's Daily Online)    13:00, May 14, 2015
The equipment used in the Fuling shale gas boosting station (Photo/Xinhua)

Editor's note: On May 11, 2015, a shale gas pipeline was put into operation, connecting Baitao Street of Fuling District of Chongqing and Wangchang Township of Shizhu Tujia Autonomous County with a large-diameter high pressure pipe. China has invested about 1.8 billion yuan in this 136- kilometer pipeline which is expected to deliver 6 billion cubic meters of shale gas annually. China's shale gas output will increase to more than five billion cubic meters in 2015. In 2020, China is expected to produce more than 30 billion cubic meters of shale gas, accounting for 15 percent of China's total natural gas production.

Rich in shale gas reserves, China meets the basic conditions required for large-scale commercial development.

In 2012, the Strategic Research Center for Oil and Gas Resources of China's Ministry of Land and Resources united 27 research institutes to conduct a survey on the shale gas reserves in China's 55 regions and basins. According to the survey, China's favorable shale gas exploration area extends to 1.5 million square meters and its shale gas reservoirs are around 134 trillion cubic meters, including 25 trillion cubic meters of technologically recoverable shale gas.

China's shale gas development has made a breakthrough and will enjoy bright prospects in the future. China started shale gas exploration in 2005. By the end of 2014, China had invested more than 20 billion RMB on shale gas development, drilled more than 400 shale gas wells, and produced about 1.3 billion cubic meters of shale gas. After many pilot tests in shale gas exploration and development, China confirmed the optimal development areas. For instance, China has launched the commercial production of shale gas in Sichuan Basin and made great progress in shale gas exploration and development in Ordos Basin.

In addition, China possesses the key technologies, equipment and systems to explore shale gas. China has reached the stage of possessing the technical knowhow to assess its shale gas reserves and select favorable exploration targets. In addition, China has developed basic drilling and completion technologies for horizontal wells, updated mass hydraulic fracturing technology, acquired the equipment and technological processes for shale gas development, and formed a system for fracturing liquids processing. Moreover, the domestically made fracturing Truck Type 3000 is listed as the most advanced worldwide.

Proceed with large-scale commercial development of shale gas during the 13th Five-Year Plan

By 2020, China is expected to hit the target of producing more than 30 billion cubic meters annually and engage in large-scale development of shale-gas exploration and exploitation areas and shale gas fields. (note: the 13th Five-Year Plan: 2016-2020)

With innovative technology and a commercial model, China is able to hit the target in large scale commercial production of shale gas. To achieve the goal, the future leading group in charge of shale gas exploration and exploitation should make a specific plan to mobilize oil companies, local governments, and private enterprises and promote the relationship between enterprises and local governments. Moreover, China should upgrade its key technologies and reduce the cost of shale gas exploration and development.

To issue sound and effective policy measures related to the shale gas exploration and exploitation 

To promote the sound and rapid development of the shale gas industry, China should issue related regulations and policies as soon as possible. Firstly, China should build a national shale gas data base and implement the policy of opening shale gas development to new entrants. Secondly, China should invest more in national research teams responsible for research on basic theories and addressing the technological challenges of shale gas development. Thirdly, China should build and improve the environmental laws to regulate shale gas development.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Ma Xiaochun,Gao Yinan)

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