China’s two main shale gas regions, both located in the Sichuan Basin, reached a new combined production record of over 10 bcm in 2018 but fell short of targets set by operators Sinopec and PetroChina.
The Fuling field in the Chongqing region produced “more than” 6 bcm last year, the state news agency Xinhua reported. Sinopec previously said that Fuling production in 2017 had reached 6 bcm and would keep growing.
PetroChina’s 2018 output in the Sichuan Basin grew more significantly, up 40% year on year to reach 4.27 bcm, the state People’s Daily reported. However, this was below the 5 bcm forecast for 2018 by the national oil company (NOC).
PetroChina’s main production base in Sichuan Province is the Changning-Weiyuan block.
Sinopec last year forecast Fuling would achieve output of 7 bcm per year by 2020. This marked a considerable scaling back of previous targets set by the NOC, including hitting 5 bcm per year by the end of 2015 and 10 bcm by 2017.
Cumulative output from the project since commercial operation began in 2014 reached 21.5 bcm at the end of 2018.
The official target for national shale gas production by the end of 2020, set by the Chinese National Energy Administration (NEA), remains 30 bcm per year. Based on current trends, however, NewsBase Intelligence (NBI) believes the country’s shale gas output is unlikely to reach even 20 bcm within this time frame.
Exploratory drilling and some test production is under way in several blocks elsewhere in the Sichuan Basin and other regions of China, including the remote northwest Xinjiang region where PetroChina is investing billions of dollars to boost both gas and oil output.
In a separate announcement PetroChina said its subsidiary Zhejiang Oilfield had produced just over 1 bcm of shale gas up to the end of December from its Zhaotong Shale Gas Demonstration Zone on the edge of the Sichuan Basin, bordering Fujian Province. It did not make clear what the production period was. The subsidiary operates the Huangjinba block.