SOURCE / ECONOMY
China seeks fast growth in shale gas output amid green push
Published: Oct 08, 2021 11:51 PM
The accumulated output at Chinese oil giant Sinopec's major shale gas field in Fuling, Southwest China's Chongqing reached 40 billion cubic meters on Friday, a new high. Photo: Courtesy of Sinopec

The accumulated output at Chinese oil giant Sinopec's major shale gas field in Fuling, Southwest China's Chongqing reached 40 billion cubic meters on Friday, a new high. Photo: Courtesy of Sinopec


The accumulated output at Chinese oil giant Sinopec's major shale gas field in Fuling, Southwest China's Chongqing reached 40 billion cubic meters on Friday, a new high. 

While surging coal prices have brought a power crunch to the world's second-largest economy, the country is hoping to boost shale gas output to achieve more dependable energy security amid the global climate crisis. 

At present, the daily output at the Fuling shale gas field has hit nearly 20 million cubic meters, providing coverage for 40 million households. 

Shale gas produced by the field benefited more than 200 million residents in over 70 cities in six provinces along the Yangtze River Economic Belt in China, according to Sinopec. 

Construction at Fuling began in 2012, and the field is the first major shale gas field for commercial exploitation in China. It made China the third country capable of developing such unconventional resources for commercial use following the US and Canada. 

In March 2017, the field produced 10 billion cubic meters of shale gas - allowing for a carbon dioxide emission reduction of 12 million tons, or equivalent to halting the use of 8 million vehicles.

According to an assessment by China's Ministry of Natural Resources in October last year, the proven total reserves of the shale gas field in Fuling have reached 792.64 billion cubic meters, making it the sixth-largest in China. 

Without revealing the field's short-term target, Liu Yaowen, chief expert at Sinopec Jianghan Oilfield, told the Global Times on Friday that the main target of the shale gas field in Fuling is to secure a "stable yield," adding the total annual shale gas production at Jianghan Oilfield is 10 billion cubic meters. 

Even though the shale gas output of China lags far behind that of the US, the global energy market could be greatly influenced when China extracts shale gas considering the size of its massive economy. 

The accumulated output at Chinese oil giant Sinopec's major shale gas field in Fuling, Southwest China's Chongqing reached 40 billion cubic meters on Friday, a new high. Photo: Courtesy of Sinopec

The accumulated output at Chinese oil giant Sinopec's major shale gas field in Fuling, Southwest China's Chongqing reached 40 billion cubic meters on Friday, a new high. Photo: Courtesy of Sinopec


In 2020 despite the coronavirus disruptions, shale gas output in China hit 20.04 billion cubic meters, up 30 percent compared with 2019. 

It was also the first time that shale gas accounted for more than 10 percent of China's home-produced gas output. 

In recent years, Sinopec has solved bottlenecks in equipment and tools, but the building of an underlying database still shows the gap between China and the US, Li Yuanzhao, a technical expert at the shale gas field, told the Global Times. 

"If China wants to catch up with the US, it must work harder on informatization and intelligent software development to lift efficiency," Li said. 

Dismissing the view that China's shale gas output could hit its ceiling in 2025, Li said it depends on the country's speed of technological innovation: "If we make technological breakthroughs, shale gas will become a lucrative resource."


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