PetroChina, the country's top oil and gas producer, is soon expected to announce China's largest natural gas discovery, which may surpass Sulige and Puguang gasfields in terms of reserves, according to industry experts.
"PetroChina is to announce a major natural gas discovery that's even richer than our Puguang gas field. The new gasfield is also located in Sichuan Province," a source in Sinopec told China Daily yesterday.
The new find, known as Longgang gasfield, has two to three times the reserve of Puguang, run by Sinopec, said Han Xuegong, a senior consultant with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), PetroChina's parent company. "That makes Longgang China's top gasfield," Han said.
China's current top gas field, Sulige, in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, has proven reserves of 533.6 billion cubic meters. Puguang gasfield in Sichuan Province boasts a proven exploitable reserve of 356 billion cubic meters, being the country's second-largest, said the Ministry of Land and Resources earlier this year.
The Longgang gasfield will definitely surpass Puguang in reserves, but PetroChina is still trying to determine the final reserve figure, said Han.
Han guesses the official announcement about the new discovery might come next month.
A senior manager of PetroChina, who did not want to be named, confirmed to China Daily that a major natural gas finding is to be unveiled soon. But he wouldn't elaborate.
China's natural gas production is expected to reach 92 billion cubic meters by 2010, while demand will cross pass 100 billion cubic meters by then.
"The gap between supply and demand is to be bridged by either an increase in local production or imports. Of course, local supply is a more secure option," Han said.
Sichuan Province boasts robust potential in natural gas exploration and production. With exploitable reserves hitting around 700 billion cubic meters, the geological reserves of Longgang is likely to exceed 2 trillion cubic meters," Han said.
Officials of Dazhou, Sichuan Province, announced during the weekend that a total of 3.8 trillion cubic meters of natural gas deposits have been found in the western part of the Sichuan Basin.
The reserves at Dazhou include proven exploitable reserves of newly discovered 244 billion cubic meters - China's total production in around four years - and the already-announced 356 billion cubic meters in Puguang gas field. Both PetroChina and Sinopec are tapping gas reserves in Dazhou.
Although it will take some time for the new gasfields to come on stream, it will boost China's energy supply and enhance the country's energy efficiency in the long run, Han said.
(China Daily May 29, 2007)