Sinopec targeting 10B cubic meters of gas per year by 2017 from China’s first large-scale shale gas field
6 April 2014
China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) said that it had made significant breakthroughs in the exploration and development of shale gas in China, and is planning to develop the Fuling shale gas field into China’s first shale gas field with an annual production capacity of 10 billion cubic meters by 2017.
This marks an important strategic milestone in China’s shale gas development and signifies the country’s earlier-than-expected entry into large-scale commercial development phase, Sinopec said. This will play a significant role in accelerating the structural adjustment of China’s energy industry, relieving pressure on natural gas supply from central and eastern China, and promoting energy conservation and emission reduction, as well as air pollution control, the company added.
The Fuling shale gas field in Chongqing has reserves of 2.1 trillion cubic meters. Sinopec expects the annual capacity of Fuling shale gas field to reach 1.8 billion cubic meters by the end of 2014 and 5 billion cubic meters by 2015—ten-fold the previous plan.
The discovery and construction of Fuling shale gas field, China’s first-ever large-scale shale gas field, symbolizes a significant strategic breakthrough in shale gas development in China and a much earlier entry into large-scale commercial development, which would otherwise have taken 10 years according to the original plan. During this process, Sinopec has achieved a number of major breakthroughs in its resource evaluation system, technology system as well as R&D and manufacturing of fracturing equipment. The successful application of these developments in Fuling gave us much confidence in extending them to other projects around the nation. Given China’s abundant shale gas resources, we believe this will significantly support and accelerate the implementation of China’s shale gas strategy, increasing the supply of green energy and optimizing the energy consumption structure in China. It will also deliver benefits to energy conservation, emission reduction and air pollution control.—Fu Chengyu, Chairman of Sinopec
With its lower carbon emission, shale gas is a cleaner energy that has strategic significance to coal-consuming China. In terms of environmental protection, the completion of a shale gas field with annual capacity of 10 billion cubic meters will reduce carbon dioxide emission by 12 million tons per year, lower sulfur dioxide by 300,000 tons, and nitric oxide by 100,000 tons.
In terms of changes to the energy structure, natural gas currently only represents 5.5% of primary energy consumption in China, far below the world average of 24%. Fuling shale gas field can further optimize China’s energy structure. In terms of energy sufficiency, 30% of China’s natural gas came from overseas in 2013. The breakthroughs Sinopec has made in its shale gas resource evaluation system, technology system and fracturing equipment development mark an imminent new era in China’s large-scale shale gas exploration, the company claimed.
Fuling. On 28 November 2012, Sinopec discovered high yield shale gas flow with capacity of 203,000 cubic meters per day in Fuling’s Jiaoye 1HF well in Chongqing, which marked a significant breakthrough in shale gas exploration. After several years of effort, the initial evaluation showed nearly 4,000 square kilometers with resources of 2.1 trillion cubic meters located in the sweet spot depth of less than 4,500 meters. The shale gas discovered was typical marine shale gas, which is characterized by its high quality, widespread distribution, thickness, high abundance and moderate burial depth, making it ideally suited to large-scale production.
Fuling has high single testing-well production volume and has achieved long-term, stable production. Sinopec has already built 600 million cubic meters of annual production capability. In September 2013, the National Energy Administration officially approved the establishment of the Fuling State Shale Gas Demonstration Area after the breakthrough achieved in Jiaoye 1HF well. Sinopec started the construction of the demonstration zone two months later and the demonstration area now has 21 experiment wells. By the end of 2013, shale gas production capacity reached 600 million cubic meters per year.
As of now, the testing production volume per well reached an average of 337,000 cubic meters per day with the highest volume at 550,000 cubic meters per day. Jiaoye 1HF well has been in stable production for 480 days, based on testing production volume of 60,000 cubic meters per day. Jiaoye 6-2HF well has been in production for 170 days with daily production of 320,000 cubic meters.
Sinopec technology.Sinopec has developed a series of primary shale gas exploration and production technologies. In terms of the experimental development and engineering technology, Sinopec developed high quality fast drilling technologies, and actively explored and implemented a factory drilling operational model. Sinopec has also developed, over time, a set of technologies for horizontal well staged fracturing; its equipment and technology capability can now satisfy shale gas development needs.
Currently, the longest horizontal section of testing well stretches 2,100 meters and there could be 26 stages of fracturing at most. With respect to localizing production equipment and related tools, Sinopec has successfully developed the Model 3000 fracturing vehicle in March 2013; four of these have already been deployed for on-site production. In addition, it developed an open hole packer and bridge plug for downhole fracturing. Sinopec has completed commercial mass production for these facilities and has exported this equipment to North America, thereby reducing the prices of similar equipment in the international market by more than 50%.