September 23, 2017 / 5:25 AM / a year ago

China's recoverable shale gas reserves fell by 6 pct in 2016 - ministry

TIANJIN, Sept 23 (Reuters) - China’s technologically recoverable shale gas reserves dropped by 6 percent in 2016, the country’s Ministry of Land and Resources said on Saturday, with no new finds of the unconventional resource recorded last year.

Reserves stood at 122.41 billion cubic meters at the end of 2016, down from 130.18 Bcm a year earlier, according to a report released by the ministry.

Shale gas was the only one of 22 major minerals listed to add zero newly discovered reserves in 2016, although potash was assigned a negative figure, indicating that some previous reserves were written off.

The numbers suggest China’s efforts to replicate the North American shale gas revolution and reduce a hefty reliance on energy imports are running out of steam.

Almost all of the country’s shale output comes from Sinopec’s Fuling project near Chonqing. Sinopec said in March it plans to boost Fuling’s annual production capacity to 10 Bcm from 7 Bcm.

There was better news for coalbed methane, however, with remaining technologically recoverable reserves jumping by 9.2 percent to 334.4 Bcm.

Conventional gas reserves were also up, by 4.7 percent to 5.44 trillion cubic meters, while oil reserves nudged up 0.1 percent to 3.501 billion tonnes (25.66 billion barrels), the ministry said. (Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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