China completes shale bidding


The latest bidding round for exploration rights on 20 Chinese shale gas blocks attracted a record 83 companies, the Chinese Ministry of Land and Resources said.

The blocks total 7,723 square miles spread over eight Chinese provincial regions, Xinhua news agency reports. The auction is the second since June 2011, when six companies bid on four shale natural gas blocks.

China has 25.08 trillion cubic meters of exploitable onshore shale-gas reserves, the ministry has said. As part of its current 5-year economic plan, China aims to produce 6.5 billion cubic meters of shale gas a year by the end of 2015.

The ministry said the latest bidding was open to only to domestic companies or Chinese-held joint ventures with capital of more than $48 million.

Companies that obtain winning bids -- to be announced after an evaluation process -- will be required to spend a minimum of $4,807 annually on each square kilometer of shale gas blocks over a specified 3-year period and drill two wells on each 500 square kilometers within those blocks.

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