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China Shale - Oil Shale, Natural Gas Shale Fields Located in China

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What is China Shale?  The rise of China Shale production is just around the corner.  As the world’s crude oil prices continue to rise, companies are beginning to focus their efforts to the oil and natural gas shale in China.  According to a study conducted by China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (SNP) to evaluate shale gas deposits in the southern part of China, potential shale gas resources are about 900 trillion cubic feet.  This is the equivalent of approximately 9 years of natural gas usage at China’s current demand.  The proven oil shale reserves of China show to be fourth in the world with about 31.5 billion tonnes.  

Two of China’s main resources of oil shale reside near the towns of Fushun and Maoming and are accordingly named The Fushun oil shale and the Maoming oil shale.  Fushun oil shale is located in northeastern China.  The oil shale is located in the Eocene Jijuntun Formation which overlies the Guchengzi Formation, known for its production of coal.  Fushun is estimated to provide an estimated 3,600 million tons of oil shale.  The Maoming oil shale deposit is 50 km long, 10 km wide, and 20-25 m thick.  The total reserves of oil shale are 5 billion tons, the Jintang mine producing the most oil shale at 860 million tons.  Other large reserves of oil shale in China are located in Liaoning province, Huadian, Jilin province and Guangdong province. 

 

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Companies in China’s oil and natural gas shale fields -   China’s largest oil and gas producer is Petrochina Company Ltd. (PTR).  They plan to invest 10 billion yuan (about $1.4 billion U.S. dollars) within the next 10 years to develop alternate energy. Petrochina’s largest oil field is Daqing Oilfield located in the northern part of Songliao Basin where they discovered large superficial reserves of oil sand. In addition, in early 2006, Petrochina discovered an oil shale reserve, approximately 500 KM from Daqing Oilfield where 275 million tons of recoverable crude oil was found.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) is currently working with Petrochina Company Ltd. (PTR) to jointly research and develop and unconventional gas block in the Ordos basin of northern China.  The deal has not yet been completed, but the discussions have been going on since early June of 2010.  

In June, 2010, China National Petrolium Corp. (CNPC) signed an agreement with EnCana Corp. (ECA) to develop shale gas reserves at Horn River, Greater Sierra, and Cutbank Ridge in northeast British Columbia. EnCana would be operator of all developments, with CNPC investing capital to earn an interest in the assets and gain an advanced understanding of unconventional gas development through an ongoing sharing of technical knowledge.

In 2006, Newfield Exploration Company (NFC) began development of two fields in China’s Bohai Bay.  In 2009, they commenced oil development in the Pearl River Mouth Basin in China. 

Sinopec Petrochemical Co. Ltd. (SHI) and BP plc. (BP) are in talks to jointly explore and develop shale gas in China. Sinopec charted 2,000 square kilometers in Kaili, Guizhou province, in southwestern China and 1,000 square kilometers in Huangqiao, Jiangsu province in eastern China as potential cooperation blocks.  

Shell (RDS-A) has strong relations with China in the natural gas and oil area as well.  Dr. Matthias Bichsel delivered a speech at Shell Projects & Technology Director, at the 9th International Oil & Gas Conference & Exhibition relaying a positive position for shale in China:

I just mentioned the Changebei project.  An intergral part of our work there was to  transfer our tight gas technology and our Drilling The Limit technique to Petrochina.  We  are also working with PetroChina to develop two bocks in Sichuan province: the Fushun  shale gas field, and the Junqui tight gas field...I’ve alluded to many more examples of  partnership already. Here in China, Shell works in partnership with all the national oil  companies, including CNPC, Sinopec, CNOOC and Yanchang. 
 
With oil prices hovering at $80 going into the last half of 2010, I think we will find that China’s vast amount of land and prosperous oil prospects are going to become key areas for companies to explore, in order to stay ahead of the game in this challenging and ever-growing industry.

If you are looking for oil fields in the United States, check out:  Bakken Shale - Eagle Ford Shale - Niobrara Shale

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