Chinese oil and gas firm PetroChina has unveiled plans to sink more than 2,000 wells between now and 2025, in a bid to raise annual shale gas production at its Sichuan Basin operations to 22 bcm.
The subsidiary of state-run China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) produced 3 bcm from the Sichuan area last year. Its development plan is divided into two phases, CNPC said in a statement. Under the first, 800 wells will be drilled by 2020 with the aim of increasing output to 12 bcm. A further 1,300 wells will be completed between 2021 and 2025, in order to reach the end-target of 22 bcm.
The drilling campaign will focus on the Wufeng and Longmaxi formations in the south of the basin. This is the location of PetroChina’s main production project in the area, the Changning-Weiyuan block. Output at Changning-Weiyuan is slated to rise by two-thirds in 2018 to 5 bcm, CNPC said earlier this year.
China’s only other major shale gas development to have entered production is the Fuling field, which also lies in the Sichuan Basin. Fuling, which is run by China’s second main NOC, Sinopec, delivered 6 bcm of gas last year.
The government-run National Energy Administration (NEA) planning agency is still targeting national shale gas production of 30 bcm per year by 2020. But NewsBase Intelligence (NBI) forecasts a more modest output of 15-20 bm will be reached.
The bulk of China’s shale gas reserves are located in deep-seated deposits in rugged terrain. CNPC’s drilling work between 2020 and 2025 will target depths of around 4,500 metres.
In the longer term, CNPC has said it will drill another 1,900 wells between 2026 and 2030, in order to ramp up production from the south section of Sichuan to 32 bcm per year. Another 2,300 new wells will be commissioned during the 2031-2035 period to lift output to 42 bcm, according to the NOC.
Sinopec has said little about its future production plans at Fuling, save that it aims to extract 7 bcm per year of gas by 2020.