China one step closer to use of new gas energy

By Zheng Xin | China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-29 07:07

China one step closer to use of new gas energy

Photo taken on June 21, 2017 shows the trial mining site in the Shenhu area of the South China Sea. [Xinhua/Huang Guobao]

China has pledged to push further ahead with the exploration and production of gas hydrate in the Shenhu area of the South China Sea, following its success in mining gas hydrate in the region.

The Ministry of Land and Resources, Guangdong province and China National Petroleum Corp, the nation's largest oil producer and supplier, reached a cooperation agreement in Beijing last week to set up a pilot site exploring gas hydrate in the Shenhu area, the ministry said on Saturday.

Promoting the industrialization of gas hydrate will not only upgrade the country's energy security but also reshape its energy mix, said Minister of Land and Resources Jiang Daming.

China needs to speed up drawing up regulations on exploitation, management and industrial policy so that gas hydrate, as combustible ice or flammable ice, can soon be applied to the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the country's economic development.

China completed its first test exploration of natural gas hydrates, commonly known as combustible ice, in the South China Sea on July 9, which lasted 60 days, with total production capacity and daily production capacity exceeding 300,000 cubic meters and 5,000 cu m, respectively.

Starting from May 10, the mining operation in waters 320 kilometers southeast of the Pearl River estuary achieved better-than-expected results, according to the China Geological Survey Bureau.

The exploration collected 6.47 million sets of experimental data and set world records in both the time of the experiment and the total amount of the gas extracted, said the bureau.

CNPC Chairman Wang Yilin said China's successful mining of combustible ice in May was seen as a breakthrough toward a global energy revolution and the company will continue to take advantage of its technologies in natural gas exploration and deep-sea hydrate test production in setting up the pilot site.

According to Lu Hailong, a professor at the Institute of Ocean Research at Peking University and the chief scientist in the first mining trials, successful mining of gas hydrate in China is seen as a breakthrough toward a global energy revolution.

With no country able to produce gas commercially due to the challenging conditions and concerns about potential pollution, China, with ample experience accumulated, has become the frontrunner in gas hydrate mining technology.

Li Jinfa, deputy director of China Geological Survey Bureau, said the test drilling and production conducted by China International Marine Containers Group and China National Petroleum Corp created a solid foundation for commercial use of the resource before 2030.

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