Chinese oil giant PetroChina expects to start pumping shale oil from a project in its major oilfield cluster in northeast China in 2025, company executives and analysts tell Reuters, as the world's top oil importer looks to sustain its oil production and potentially lessen its dependence on imports.
PetroChina is investing billions of U.S. dollars into fracking technology and development to drill the shale formations in the Gulong area in its major Daqing oilfield cluster.
Last month, PetroChina said it would start production of 20,000 barrels per day (bpd) of shale oil at Gulong in 2025.
Yet, analysts tell Reuters that the commercial recovery of the huge shale resources there is not proven yet and could be highly uncertain.
"We're venturing into a 'no man's' zone in Gulong," He Wenyuan, chief geologist of Daqing, told reporters, as carried by Reuters.
In August, China announced the discovery of a major shale oilfield in the Daqing Oilfield cluster with expected reserves of 1.27 billion tons of oil.
China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) aims to boost shale oil production from shale formations in Daqing to reverse the decline in the production in the area, the state-held oil giant says.
Chinese oil majors are ramping up exploration for shale oil and gas as part of a mandate from authorities to raise domestic production, which could diminish China's costly dependence on crude oil and natural gas imports.
Yet, China has struggled to develop its huge shale gas and oil resources so far. The challenges arise because some of the most prolific basins are twice as deep underground as the shale gas resources in some of the most extensive U.S. shale gas plays. The challenging geology leads to higher well drilling and completion costs, lower margins for exploration and production companies, and, at times, mixed results in gas flows.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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