Economic review

Massive gas field discovered in north China's Shanxi

2017-09-11 13:51:00 (Beijing Time)         CGTN

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Zhang Qinghui says more platforms will be built in the future. /CGTN Photo

A massive gas field was recently discovered in northern China's Shanxi Province with estimated reserves of over 500 billion cubic meters.

The gas field is located in an area bordering the counties of Wuxiang, Yushe and Zuoquan.

Currently, this gas field only has one drilling platform for testing. Local authorities said a few dozen more will be built in the future. An aerial view shows that the drilling platform looks small. But beneath it, the super large gas field measures 1,200 square kilometers, with estimated reserves of over 240 billion cubic meters of coal-bed gas and 300 billion cubic meters of shale gas.

Shanxi is known as China's largest coal producer. The area is rich in coal resources, and is home to the country's largest coal-bed gas reserves and ground production.

Zhang Qinghui, head of the Geological Research Institute at the Shanxi Coal Geology Bureau, told CGTN that they explored this new gas field at a depth of over 1,300 meters, a depth previously unreachable. The new technological breakthrough means that nearly 70 percent of Shanxi's coal-bed gas reserves can now be explored.

Shanxi's economy relies heavily on coal, however the declining coal market has forced it to shift its focus to the development of clean energy.

Xu Dachun, director of Shanxi's Provincial Department of Land and Resources, said that with China's supply-side reforms underway, Shanxi now needs less coal production and more new energy. Their goal is to build a gas field base with a capacity of hundreds of billions of cubic meters, with the hope that the development of the gas industry will not only change the energy structure in Shanxi but also in the bordering areas of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province.

Shanxi has also become China's first pilot province to transfer the mining rights of gas fields from the government to the market.

Private companies and foreign investors are encouraged to join this sector. Many of them have already been competing to buy the mining rights of gas fields in the province.