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Project to Assess Energy Reserves

A nationwide project is being launched to assess the potential capacity of China's oil and natural gas resources, a senior official from the Ministry of Land and Resources said yesterday.

Land and Resources Minister Sun Wensheng said the project is aimed at gauging the country's oil and natural gas reserves and establishing a national database on them.

More importantly, it will provide a scientific basis for determining the national strategy for future economic development, the minister said.

Sun made the remarks yesterday at a conference on the Assessment of National Oil and Natural Gas Resources in Beijing.

The project, targeting more than 400 major sources of oil and natural resources, will be jointly organized by the Ministry of Land and Resources and the National Development and Reform Commission.

It will be carried out by the country's four conglomerates: China National Petroleum Corporation, China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, China National Offshore Corp and China United Coalbed Methane Co Ltd. They will co-ordinate their efforts with researchers from universities and academies.

Sun said the central government attaches the same importance to oil and natural gas resources as grain and water in the sustainable development of society.

In a written document outlining approval of the project, Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan said oil and natural gas are strategic resources in relation to the development of the national economy and national security.

He expressed hope the project will be conducted on a scientific basis so that it provides a solid foundation for the country's long-term strategy on energy development.

In the 1980s and 1990s China's oil conglomerates organized assessments on oil and natural gas resources, which measured the total volume of resources including historical accumulated yields, verified deposits and the potential capacity.

Compared with the previous assessments, this new project will emphasize exploitable resources while counting the total geological reserve.

With the rapid development of the economy, China has become increasingly dependent on imported crude oil, said Zhang Guobao, vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission.

(China Daily December 2, 2003)

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