Chinadaily News-Nation to double natural gas output by 2015


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The country aims to more than double its annual natural gas output to 160 billion cubic meters, and produce about 6 billion tons of oil in the next 30 years, or 200 million tons a year.

China wants to increase its annual production of coal, too, to more than 3.3 billion tons, said Hu Cunzhi, chief planner of the Ministry of Land and Resources, at a press conference yesterday.

That represents an increase of about 30 percent and 7 percent for coal and oil from 2007. About 10 billion cubic meters of coal bed methane will also be produced each year by draining gas from coal mines by 2015, Hu said.

The country's energy consumption increased by an average annual rate of 5.4 percent between 1979 and 2007, fuelling an average yearly economic growth of 9.8 percent.

The continuous rise in demand for oil has made exploration and discovery of oil sources at home more important, said Ju Jianhua, deputy director of the ministry's planning department. The ministry, though, has said that it is likely to find 16 new oilfields, each with more than 100 million tons in reserves, by 2015.

Six new oilfields are likely to be discovered by next year, and 10 more between 2011 and 2015, Ju said.

Gong Jinshuang, a researcher with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), said the discoveries were quite possible considering the number of new oilfields CPNC had found in recent times.

"On an average, we have found about 200 million tons of oil a year," Gong said.

But he said he was skeptical about the new oilfields being able to meet the surging domestic demand.

Scientific analysis has shown that the country has a potential oil reserve of 90 billion tons, a third of which can be explored effectively, he said.

The country has accelerated its pace to build strategic reserves for energy security, too, the ministry said. "We're working toward building underground storage soon," Ju said.

China has already explored several places that could be underground storage sites with a minimum capacity of 1 million tons, he said.

More than 10 such large and medium-sized potential mines have already been reserved, the report said.

A reserve of potential mines can ensure the country's long-term energy security, Ju added. "If needed, we will explore these potential mines after they are constructed in five to 10 years."