(Yicai Global) Dec. 17 -- China Petroleum & Chemical has started ground construction on the western Sichuan natural gas field, which will produce 3.4 billion cubic meters of high-sulfur natural gas -- 'sour gas' -- per year, the company said in a statement yesterday.
This is another massive endeavor for the Beijing-based conglomerate better known as Sinopec after it developed the Puguang and Yuanba gas fields also located in the southwestern Chinese province.
China's natural gas demand has ballooned in recent years as the country's air pollution control measures bite ever deeper and coal falls off the fuel menu in c onsequence. The nation has boosted imports in response, but also made greater efforts to tap its considerable domestic resources.
Surface engineering on the project will install six desulfurization stations and one collection and transmission station, 58 kilometers of gas pipelines and other supporting systems, and 29 wells, the company said, but without revealing investment amounts or other financial details.
The greater part of the field, which covers 1,982 square kilometers and has been found to have 129.3 billion cubic meters of probable reserves and 30.9 billion cubic meters of proven reserves since its discovery in 2014, lies in an area of the Sichuan Basin under the jurisdiction of the provincial capital of Chengdu.
The basin now contributes to about one-fourth of China's natural gas production, according to the China Natural Gas Development Report (2019) jointly released by China's cabinet the State Council and other authorities, but that amount is set to rise to one-third in future, the report projects.
China National Offshore Oil Corporation, another energy giant, last week started developing the Lingshui 17-2, the first deepwater natural gas field in the South China Sea, which will also yield over 3 billion cubic meters of the fuel annually.
Sour gas, which emits a foul odor from its hydrogen-sulfide content, requires careful handling and treatment as it is noxious enough to kill, as happened when a well blew up in Sichuan in 2003, blanketing 25 square kilometers of farmland with lethal fumes that killed 243 and poisoned thousands more.
Editor: Ben Armour