China shale gas auction attracts 83 bidders


China Daily quoted land resource authorities as saying that 83 companies have bid on the exploration rights for 20 shale gas blocks in a recent auction.

The Ministry of Land and Resources said that it had received 152 bids as of Thursday, the deadline for submitting bids. One block received the maximum of 13 bids.

The ministry however, said that one block in east China's Anhui province received only two bids, failing to meet the minimum requirement three bids for each block for further proceedings.

The auction, which became open to the public on September 10th was the second of its kind after the first auction in June 2011, when 6 companies bid on four shale gas blocks. The auctions are part of efforts to boost the production of shale gas, a clean and efficient energy source that is mainly composed of methane.

The ministry said that winning bids will be announced after a group of experts evaluate the bidders' exploration plans, capital budgets and support measures.

According to bidding conditions, domestic companies or Chinese-held joint ventures registered with capital exceeding CYN 300 million, which are qualified for gaseous mineral exploration, may join the bidding. Each qualified company can bid for 2 blocks.

Although China does not produce shale gas commercially, the resource has become an increasingly important source of natural gas in developed economies amid volatile global oil supplies.

According to the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic planer, the country aims to produce 6.5 billion cubic meters of shale gas by 2015. An estimated CYN 400 billion to CYN 600 billion will be spent to drill 20,000 shale gas wells by 2020.

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