The Sinopec Southwest Oil & Gas Company of China Petroleum (Sinopec Southwest) & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) has made a new shale gas discovery in the Sichuan basin in China.

The new shale gas has been discovered following the drilling of the Jinshi 103HF exploratory well, which has an anticipated resource capacity of 387.8 billion cubic metres (bcm).

With daily natural gas production reaching 258,600 cubic metres, the new oil find marks the first discovery in the Cambrian Qiongzhusi Formation and is said to be a major breakthrough for the Asian country’s shale gas exploration.

Sinopec expects the latest discovery to further promote the exploration and production of shale gas in the Sichuan basin, which comprises two main formations, namely the Longmaxi and Qiongzhusi. 

In a press statement, Sinopec said: “The breakthrough will provide a strong impetus for expanding shale gas exploration and development from the single formation to reach new formations and field types, and contribute to build a national natural gas (shale gas) reserve with 100bcm of capacity in the Sichuan and Chongqing region.”

Last year, Sinopec Group subsidiary Sinopec Southwest reported annual natural gas production of 8.001bcm, and cumulative production of 52.95bcm.

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Earlier this year, Sinopec announced a new natural gas discovery in its Zhongjiang field, located in the Zhongjiang County of Deyang City in the Sichuan province.

At that time, the firm said the discovery would increase the proved gas reserves at the Zhongjiang field to more than 34bcm, bringing the Sichuan Basin’s total natural gas reserves to 106.1bcm. The field’s main gas reservoir has a depth of 2,000m to 3,000m.