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China now one of world’s top-3 shale gas producers

By Sun Wenyu (People's Daily Online)    15:20, September 15, 2017

(File Photo)

China has become the world’s largest shale gas producer along with the U.S. and Canada, the country’s Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) recently announced.

From drilling the first shale gas well in 2010, to producing more than 10 billion cubic meters of shale gas annually, China has successfully made a significant and strategic breakthrough.

Shale gas is a natural gas found trapped within shale formations that is green and has high calorific value.

Yu Haifeng, an MLR official in charge of mineral reserves, said that the proven reserves of shale gas in southwestern China’s Sichuan Basin and its surrounding stratum totals 764.3 billion cubic meters. Fuling Shale Gas Field, which is located in this region, has become the world’s second largest shale gas field following North America.

Currently, natural gas only makes up less than 7% of China’s primary energy consumption. Experts said that the promotion of shale gas exploration and natural gas supply is of great importance to China’s efforts to revolutionize the country’s energy production and consumption, structural optimization of resources, and energy security.

Though China is a late starter in shale gas exploration, it has experienced rapid development. “Fuling Shale Gas Field and Changning-Weiyuan Shale Gas Field, two major national-level pilot zones, have both achieved fruitful results,” said Zhang Dawei, director of Mineral Reserve Review Center under the MLR.

“It has proved the potential of China’s shale gas development, and we should be confident about it,” he added.

The exploitation was not an easy task for China. A batch of wells had to be drilled with advanced technologies from major European and American companies, but the theory was not perfectly applicable to China’s complicated geological conditions.

With a spirit of innovation and perseverance, technical barriers have been broken down by Chinese companies represented by Sinopec and Petro China. “After learning from foreign technologies and from our own innovation, we grasped the basics of how to design and construct such devices,” said Liu Yaowen, director of Sinopec Jianghan Oilfield’s shale gas development department.

The recoverable volume of China’s shale gas stands at around 20 trillion cubic meters, but proven reserves only make up less than 1/20 of the total amount, according to the MLR.

This year, many state departments, including the National Development and Reform Commission, have proposed to promote natural gas exploitation, hoping to make natural gas a major resource in the country’s modern system of clean energy. It is hoped that natural gas will make up 10% of the country’s primary energy consumption in 2020.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Shan Xin, Bianji)

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