Ensuring winter gas supplies key task

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China's oil majors are maximizing domestic gas production to ensure sufficient supplies for the spike in demand during the upcoming winter heating season.

State-owned offshore oil and gas producer China National Offshore Oil Corp said on Tuesday that the company will supply 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas during the heating season this year to meet rising demand in the country.

The company's Shenhai-1, an ultra deep water large gas field, has supplied more than 3 billion cubic meters of natural gas since being commissioned a year ago. About 8 billion cubic meters of offshore natural gas will serve the country through an intelligent gas distribution system this winter and next spring, said the company.

An analyst said that against the backdrop of the global energy crisis and market turmoil, it is necessary for domestic oil and gas companies to step up efforts in upstream exploitation and exploration to further tap domestic gas potential and ensure gas supply security for the upcoming winter.

"Domestic gas output is projected to play an even more important role this year as gas imports become increasingly more uncertain and volatile amid European gas shortages," said Li Ziyue, an analyst with BloombergNEF.

BloombergNEF expects China's gas production during the heating season to record annual growth above 5 percent, reaching around 100 billion cubic meters.

In addition to CNOOC, the country's major oil companies are all stepping up efforts to ensure sufficient gas supplies for the coming winter. Changqing oilfield in Erdos Basin has also been stepping up natural gas production capacity construction this year.

As newly built production capacity of Changqing oilfield now exceeds 11 billion cubic meters, the annual natural gas production of the field will likely hit a record of 50 billion cubic meters this year, said deputy director of the oilfield Wang Zhenjia.

As China's largest oil and gas field, Changqing's annual natural gas output is expected to account for one-fourth of the country's total, said its operator China National Petroleum Corp, the country's largest oil and gas producer by annual output.

China Petrochemical Corp (Sinopec) announced on Tuesday that it had discovered shale natural gas reserves in Southwest China's Sichuan Basin, with a confirmed volume of 387.8 billion cubic meters and potential daily output of 258,600 cubic meters.

The exploration was Sinopec's first success in detecting shale natural gas in the Cambrian shale, marking another milestone in natural gas exploration in the Sichuan Basin and forming a new natural gas reserve base, said the company.

Sinopec's annual natural gas output surpassed 8 billion cubic meters as of 2021, up from 2.82 billion cubic meters in 2012. The company has become China's largest natural gas producer with an accumulated output of 52.95 billion cubic meters in the last decade, it said.

China's natural gas output maintained a steady increase during the first eight months. Figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics show output of natural gas in the country amounted to 17 billion cubic meters in August, up 6.3 percent year-on-year.

In the first eight months, China reported 143.7 billion cubic meters of natural gas production, an increase of 5.5 percent from the same period a year earlier. The country imported 71.05 million metric tons of natural gas in the January-August period, down 10.2 percent year-on-year, it said.

Ensuring energy security is always the primary task of energy work in China, said Ren Jingdong, deputy director of the National Energy Administration, during the ongoing 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

Ren said China sees its energy self-sufficiency rate reaching more than 80 percent in 2021, which has provided solid energy assurance for high-quality social and economic development.

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