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China May Hold Shale-Gas Auction as Early as End-February

Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) -- China, estimated to hold more gas trapped in shale than the U.S., may hold its second auction of exploration areas as early as this month, according to an official at the Ministry of Land and Resources.

The ministry plans to hold the tender by the end of February or in early March, Zhang Dawei, deputy director of oil and gas research at the ministry, said by telephone today. The sale was originally scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2011.

China, yet to produce shale gas commercially, may hold about 31 trillion cubic meters of the resource, Xinhua News Agency reported, citing Wang Min, vice minister of land, at a national geological survey conference in Beijing yesterday. Chinese reserves may reach 1,275 trillion cubic feet (36 trillion cubic meters), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration in April. That’s almost triple the 482 trillion cubic feet in U.S., according to a Jan. 23 estimate by the EIA.

Shale-gas output may exceed 100 billion cubic meters in 2020, Xinhua said, citing Wang. China aims to produce 80 billion cubic meters annually by 2020, Zhang said in October, citing the draft of a national plan on the resource.

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. and Henan Provincial Coal Seam Gas Development and Utilization Co. won rights to explore two areas in the country’s first shale-gas auction in June. The land ministry will likely offer more than 20 blocks in the second round, Zhang said Feb. 3.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aibing Guo in Hong Kong at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amit Prakash at

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