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China sets natural gas development targets

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BEIJING, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- China plans to add 3.5 trillion cubic meters of proved conventional natural gas reserves during the 2011-2015 period, according to a latest development plan.

The plan, compiled by the National Development and Reform Commission and approved by the State Council, also said that explorable reserves will reach around 1.9 trillion cubic meters.

It was released Monday by the National Energy Administration in a statement.

By 2015, China aims to bring its natural gas supply capacity to around 176 billion cubic meters, making the energy reachable to 250 million people, or 18 percent of the population, according to the statement.

The development plan comes as China's appetite for natural gas has grown substantially with the country's industrialization and urbanization initiatives amid government's efforts to cut carbon emissions.

Currently, natural gas makes up only around 4.6 percent of the country's primary-energy consumption, much lower than the international average of 23.8 percent. This leaves room for exploration potentials as the geological reserves of China's conventional natural gas is estimated at 52 trillion cubic meters, according to the statement.

While recognizing the sector's growth potential, the statement noted that the absence of supporting policies, backward logistics, distorted pricing mechanism and lack of key skills were major challenges.

In the statement, the NDRC pledged more measures to guide development in this area.

Regarding the development of shale gas, a variety of unconventional natural gas, China plans to prove 600 billion cubic meters of geological reserves by 2015, with explorable reserves at 200 billion, the statement said, setting the output target of 6.5 billion cubic meters by that time.

The country also vows to "basically complete" the assessment on China's shale gas potentials during the 2011-2015 period and master the key exploration techniques.

Based on statistics from the signed futures contracts, China's annual gas imports would reach around 93.5 billion cubic meters by 2015, the statement said.

The NDRC also said China will add new pipelines spreading 44,000 kilometers during the period.

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