Rich Natural Gas Reserves Found in North China

A massive gas-bearing area with some 400 billion cubic meters of natural gas has been found recently in north China's Ordos Basin.

Located in Ih Ju League, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the discovery of the Shuligemiao gas area in northern part of the Ordos region, covering about 5,000 sq km of land, was considered a breakthrough in natural gas exploration in the region, according to He Zixin, vice manager with the Changqing Oilfield Company, a subsidiary of the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).

China discovered the Changqing gas field in the basin in 1989. Following the gas production of 1.2 million cubic meters from the Shu-6 well near the field this August, all 12 wells in the area have recently reported high-yield gas streams or found high-quality gas-bearing formation.

He Zinxin said his firm has proved that the Shuligemiao area contains about 300 million cubic meters of natural gas per sq km, which confirms that the geologic structure of the Ordos Basin, the second largest sedimentary basin in China, is capable of producing abundant high-quality natural gas.

The Ordos Basin, sprawling across Shaanxi, Shanxi, and Gansu provinces, and the Ningxia Hui and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Regions and covering an area of 400,000 sq km, has rich reserves of coal, petroleum and underground water. Geologists estimate that the natural gas resources here may total ten trillion cubic meters.

The latest discovery in the gas-bearing area will increase the proven natural gas reserves of the Changqing gas field to about 1, 000 billion cubic meters from the current 700 billion cubic meters.

Annual gas production capacity of the gas field may also increase to 10 billion cubic meters from the current four billion cubic meters, He Zixin said.

Construction of a 4,212-kilometer pipeline between western China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and the Shanghai Municipality is underway, to ease energy shortage pressures in east China.

Changqing gas field, on the route of the project that will run through 10 provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions, could provide strong backup for the gas program depending on its natural gas potential, He Zinxin said.

Four long-distance pipelines from the gas field are now transporting gas to Beijing, Tianjin, Xi'an and Yinchuan.

China plans to let natural gas play a bigger role in its energy consumption to ease mounting pollution pressures and to promote sustainable development.

Wu Yaowen, vice-president of the CNPC, announced at an energy development seminar in May this year that China would give priority to the development of natural gas in its energy strategy in the 21st century, concentrating on the rich gas-bearing regions.

Wu predicted that China's proven gas reserve will increase by an annual average of 120 billion cubic meters between 2001 and 2020, with gas utilization accounting for eight percent of China's energy consumption instead of the present two percent.

(Xinhua 12/02/2000)

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