Caixin
Apr 03, 2018 05:05 AM
BUSINESS & TECH

Sinopec to Boost Capacities of Natural Gas, Shale Gas in Green Push

Sinopec expects to increase its clean fuel production to half of its total supplies. Photo: VCG
Sinopec expects to increase its clean fuel production to half of its total supplies. Photo: VCG

Sinopec Group said it will expand its natural gas capacity, boost shale gas production and grow its electric-car-charging business over the next six years — all efforts to make its business greener.

State-owned Sinopec, China’s leading oil refiner, released on Monday a plan that will make clean-fuel production — including natural gas, biodiesel and ethanol gasoline — account for half of its total energy supplies by 2023.

Sinopec will boost its annual capacity of natural gas supplies by importation and production to 60 billion cubic meters (2.12 trillion cubic feet) by 2023. In 2017, Sinopec produced 27 billion cubic meters of gas, a 19% increase from a year ago.

Sinopec will more than double its capacity to receive imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) to 23 million tons per year by adding new facilities and expanding existing receiving facilities along China’s east coast. The company currently has the capacity to receive 9 million tons of LNG imports.

Sinopec also wants to expand its shale gas production to over 10 billion cubic meters by 2020. The company currently operates China’s largest commercial shale gas field in Fuling, in Southwest China’s Sichuan province. The field has proven reserves of 600 billion cubic meters of gas and produced 6 billion cubic meters last year.

According to Sun Huanquan, director of Sinopec’s oil-field department, the company has launched early-stage work to develop a newly found shale gas field in Sichuan.

Sinopec said it also plans to build 1,000 natural gas filling stations by 2023, as authorities promote clean energy use in transportation to reduce air pollution.

Sinopec General Manager Dai Houliang said the company, China’s largest fuel supplier for vehicles, should transform its business to embrace the rise of electric vehicles.

China is now the world’s biggest market for electric cars. Sales of new-energy vehicles — including battery-powered, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell cars — are expected to surpass 1 million this year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Dai said although gasoline will remain the main source of fuel for vehicles for a while, Sinopec should be prepared to shift its business focus from fuel production and refining business to petrochemical production.

Sinopec is considering building charging stations to capture business opportunities in the fast-growing electric car market and has launched research on fuel cells for cars, Dai said.

Sinopec said it plans to invest 40 billion yuan ($6.37 billion) in the next six years to expand clean energy capabilities and upgrade its production technologies.

The company’s net profit for 2017 grew 9.8% year-on-year to 51.2 billion yuan. Revenues rose 22.2% to 2.36 trillion, according to Sinopec's 2017 annual report.

Contact reporter Han Wei (weihan@caixin.com)


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