BEIJING Jan 22 Sinopec, China's
second-largest oil and gas producer by output, will add 10
billion cubic metres (bcm) of annual natural gas production
capacity by 2015 using its own technology to develop
high-sulphur gas fields, the China Daily said on Tuesday.
Natural gas consumption in China, the world's top energy
user, is expected to be 230 bcm in 2015, up from more than 130
bcm in 2011, the government has said.
In 2011, natural gas accounted for only 4.5 percent in
China's energy mix, versus 23.7 percent of primary energy
China has proven reserves of more than 1 trillion cubic
metres of natural gas with high sulphur content, or sour natural
gas, the newspaper quoted Cao Yaofeng, vice president of Sinopec
parent Sinopec Group, as saying.
It has been a technical challenge for Chinese firms,
including Sinopec and top oil and gas producer China National
Petroleum Corp (CNPC), to develop high-sulphur gas which
contains a high content of poisonous hydrogen sulphide that
could be lethal if not properly treated.
Companies have sought international expertise to tackle the
sour gas. Chevron is in joint venture with CNPC to
develop several such gas fields in Sichuan.
In 2003, a blow-out at a CNPC natural gas well in southwest
China's Chongqing turned 25 square km (10 sq miles) of farmland
into a lethal zone, killing 243 people and poisoning thousands
as they slept or scrambled to escape a toxic cloud of hydrogen
Sinopec's Puguang gas field is the largest high-sulphur
natural gas field in the country, with proven reserves of 412.2
bcm, the paper said.
By applying the company's sour-gas development technology,
Puguang, in the southwestern province of Sichuan, produced about
10 bcm of natural gas in 2012, accounting for 8.3 percent of
China's total natural gas output, it said.
The project has incorporated sour gas processing technology
from U.S. firm Black Veatch, industry experts say.
The technology has now been applied in Sinopec's other
high-sulphur natural gas fields, including Dawan, Yuanba and
Xinglong in Sichuan and neighbouring Chongqing municipality.
Puguang gas field was discovered in 2003 and developed in
2006 as a major project to deliver gas from Sichuan to the
booming east coast.
Sinopec has invested around 62 billion yuan ($10 billion) in
the project, including in gas exploration, pipeline construction
and a sour-gas purification plant, the paper said.
The plant can purify 12 bcm of sour natural gas annually and
produce 2.1 million tonnes of sulphur for agricultural use,
accounting for 45 percent of China's total sulphur output, it