China’s shale gas production outperforms expectations

Sinopec Ltd. reported that Fuling shale gas field in southwestern China produced a cumulative 3.76 billion cu m of gas from January to September. The 107% increase in production was accompanied by additional processing capacity of 5.5-6.5 bcm, the company said. In 2014, Sinopec announced plans to bring production capacity to 10 bcm/year by 2017 (OGJ Online, Mar. 25, 2014).

At the time, Fuling field processing capacity was 0.6 bcm/year with 21 shale gas wells. While the operator has continued drilling new wells, no number was associated with the press release. Fuling field has reserves of 2.1 trillion cu m located at depths less than 4,500 m.

PetroChina Co. Ltd.’s Changning-Weiyuan block in China’s Sichuan province has produced more than 1.8 bcm of shale gas as October, surpassing the 2016 target of 1.5 bcm. The operator expects the block’s full-year shale gas output to reach 2.1 bcm, China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), PetroChina’s parent company, said in a statement Oct. 25. The block has 107 production wells with an annual production capacity of 2.5 bcm.

The US Energy Information Administration estimates that China contains the largest technically recoverable shale gas reserves in the world—1,115 tcf as of September 2015 (OGJ Online, Sep. 1, 2016). State-owned companies, namely CNPC and Sinopec Ltd., own the vast majority of the country’s shale gas resources, EIA noted.

Sinopec’s Fuling block and CNPC’s Changning-Weiyuan block in the Sichuan basin, expanded China’s shale gas production fivefold during 2013-14 to 46 bcf/year (1.3 bcm/year).

China’s Ministry of Land and Resources said the nation’s shale gas output in 2015 reached 4.47 bcm, an increase of 258.5% year-on-year. The ministry cited that last year’s production missed a government target of 6.5 bcm.

Contact Tayvis Dunnahoe at

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