The reforms in oil and gas sector have been accelerated in 2015. The reform of mineral rights has begun and 6 oil and gas exploration zones in Xinjiang Autonomous Region have served as the tender pilots, breaking through the requirements on the resources varieties, exploration phase and enterprise qualification. The right of importing and using of the crude oil has been gradually relaxed and 13 local refineries have obtained the right to use imported crude oil of 55.1888 million tons per year. The natural gas price for non-residential use was unified and a universal price was set for the incremental supply and existing supply. The Shanghai Petroleum and Gas Exchange(SHPGX) was established and laid foundation for the market mechanism to determine the price. The government governance has undergone continuous adjustments such as regulating the tax instead of charging the fees, streamlining administration and delegating power to the lower levels.The Guidelines on Deepening the Reform of State-owned Enterprises was released, symbolizing the accomplishment of the overall planning of the SOE reform.
In order to economically and effectively develop shale gas in China, Sinopec introduced foreign technologies and integrated them with available domestic technologies and self-developed tools according to geological characteristics and complicated mountainous geomorphology in marine shale plays of southern China. A technology series composed of innovated theories concerning geological characterization during drilling, new generation of PDC bits, friction-reducing tools, low-cost oil-based drilling fluid system, high-efficient washing fluid and elastic mud systems, integrated drilling engineering design, long lateral cementing, modified well factory drilling method and etc., was developed to fulfill fast and optimized drilling for shale gas wells. The application of the technology series in about 251 wells of Fuling gas field, Chongqing City, southwestern China, showed positive results: mechanical rotating speed increased by 191%, drilling duration reduced by 53%, and quality passing percent 100%.
Natural gas output remained stable growth and reached 130.9 billion cubic meters in 2015, 3% higher than the same period last year. Shale gas saw huge progress. China thus became the third country in the world fulfilling commercial development after U.S. and Canada. Natural gas import growth and growth rate declined obviously, and the imported pipeline gas and LNG totaled 61.2 billion cubic meters in 2015. Apparent natural gas consumption was 186.5 billion cubic meters in 2015, rising by 4.4% as compared with the same period last year, but it hit a historic low. There is higher downward pressure on domestic macro economy in 2016. However, natural gas demand will see more rapid growth, propelled by such favorable factors as gas price regulation and environmental protection policies. It is prospected that natural gas market will take a turn for the better than in 2015, and natural gas supply will still be rich in general in 2016.
By the end of 2015, total length of China’s long-distance gas pipelines has exceeded 70,000 km. Onshore strategic import paths have been formed, domestic trunk networks perfected and gas storages construction pace accelerated. The Chinese section of Russia-China East Gas Pipeline was officially commenced, which marked that the northeast import path entered the stage of construction. There are 13 LNG terminals in China. The National Development and Reform Commission(NDRC) approved China’s first private-owned LNG terminal—the Zhoushan LNG terminal. In the coming five years, the focus of institutional reform will be the independence of pipelines and networks, the focus of construction will be regional networks and branch pipelines, and joint ventures will be the mainstream for gas pipeline construction and operation.
Domestic economic growth slowed down and supply exceeded demand in oil market in 2015, so the growth of refineries’ processing volume was limited. Nevertheless, the gradual decontrol of market and the storage requirement under low oil price, crude oil imports hit a record high of 335.5 million tons, with the growth rate approximating 9%. Refined oil exports soared and imports decreased, which made China become a net refined oil exporter for the first time for 24 years, and net imports reached 6.22 million tons. Robust requirement on chemical raw materials propelled imported liquefied petroleum gas market to go on expanding. Imports exceeded 12 million tons in 2015, thus China leaped into the world’s largest liquefied petroleum gas importer. In 2016, oil consumption growth would be kept at lower level. However, China would further decontrol crude oil import and refined oil export permits and put incremental storage capacity into use. Therefore, crude oil imports would continue to rise up, and refined oil exports may hit a new historic high. Imported liquefied petroleum gas market will enter into a stage of stable growth after two years’ rapid development.