Chinese national oil company Sinopec has made a shale gas discovery in China’s Sichuan province, as reported by Reuters.

The firm said the high-yielding shale gas exploration well, Jinshi-103HK, has an estimated daily gas flow of 258,600m³.

The shale gas discovery holds an estimated 387.8 billion cubic metres (bcm), according to the Global Times.

Sinopec expects that the Jinshi-103HK well success could potentially lead to another shale gas field.

The exploration was the company’s first success in detecting shale natural gas in the Cambrian shale, marking another milestone in natural gas exploration at the Sichuan Basin and forming a new natural gas reserve base.

It is part of Sinopec’s efforts to harness the country’s ‘unconventional’ gas resources after the start of production at the Weirong field.

Located near Zigong, Sichuan province, the Weirong field has a certified proven reserve of 124.7bcm.

Its discovery was the result of the first natural gas detection exploration project in the Sichuan Basin, which began in April 2020.

Chinese energy firms are looking to unlock domestic oil and gas resources following President Xi Jinping’s stated aim to strengthen the country’s energy supply security.

Earlier this year, Sinopec signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Saudi Arabian Oil Co (Aramco) for potential collaboration across upstream and downstream businesses, oilfield services, engineering and construction, as well as carbon capture and hydrogen.

Last year, the Chinese firm made a natural gas discovery at the Zhongjiang field in Sichuan province, increasing the field’s proved gas reserves to more than 34bcm.

Sinopec claims to have become China’s largest natural gas producer, having produced 52.95bcm in the last ten years.

The company’s annual natural gas output exceeded 8bcm last year, having stood at 2.82bcm in 2012.