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Sun Longde, the company’s vice president, said the Chinese state energy group plans to spend more than 10bn yuan on shale gas fracking this year.
The pilot zones of Changning and Weiyuan blocks in southwest China’s Sichuan Province will each produce 1 billion cubic meters of shale gas while the Zhaotong block in southwest China’s Yunnan Province will produce 500 million cubic meters, the PetroChina official said.
China has struggled to unlock the world’s largest estimated reserves of shale gas.
PetroChina has ten shale gas wells in operation or under construction and plans to have 164 in 2015, Sun said.
The energy giant has set a target of producing 11 billion cubic meters of shale gas in 2020, the vice president said.
China is at a preliminary stage in shale gas exploration and needs to improve technology and cut costs, said Wang Min, Chinese vice minister of land and resources.
China used 14.9 billion cubic meters of natural gas in February this year, up 10.1 per cent year on year, according to a report from China’s National Development and Reform Commission.
There has been a surge in demand for natural gas in China as the government promotes the use of clean energy to reduce dependence on coal, following heavy air pollution in the country since early 2013.