CNPC > About CNPC > Our Businesses > Unconventional Hydrocarbon and New Energy > Unconventional Oil & Gas Resources
Unconventional Oil & Gas Resources

Unconventional oil and gas resources mainly refer to CBM, oil sands, oil shale, shale gas and combustible ice. We are actively promoting the mass development of CBM and resources evaluation of oil shale, oil sands and shale gas, etc.

CNPC has made remarkable progress in the exploration and development of unconventional oil and gas in recent years. As a number of production blocks and pilot development bases put into operation, our unconventional oil and gas output continued to grow. Unconventional hydrocarbon, as an important alternative source of energy, are accounting for an increasingly larger share in our newly added proven reserves.


CNPC set up a CBM Lab in 1989 for research purposes. An overall evaluation of China's CBM resources started in 1992. We have selected Qinshui Basin, Ordos Basin, Junggar Basin and Erlian Basin as the prospective regions to look for "sweet spots" of CBM in the coal-enriched shallow and middle layers. CNPC's CBM development in the Qinshui Basin of Shanxi Province has already taken shape.

Qinshui Basin in Shanxi Province is known as one of world's largest high-coal-rank CBM reservoirs and the only proven uncompartmentalized CBM reservoir in China. CNPC has identified 2.9tcm of CBM resources and 390.4bcm proven OGIP in the Qinshui and Ordos basins.

Oil shale

CNPC's oil shale exploration activities are mainly carried out in sedimentary basins such as the northern part of Songliao Basin, Liushuhe Basin and Yin'e Basin. The oil shale in the northern part of Songliao Basin is found to be 5 meters thick on average with a maximum layer thickness of 24 meters and an average oil content of 7%.

In Ordos Basin, we proved the one-billion-ton Qingcheng Oilfield, the largest ever shale oilfield of China.

Shale gas

CNPC has identified approximately 7 tcm of shale gas resources, mainly in the Sichuan Basin. We have built two national shale gas demonstration bases and are accelerating shale gas development through cooperation with both domestic and international partners, risk operation, and independent operation.

A shale gas province with reserves of one trillion cubic meters has been formed in the southern part of Sichuan Basin, with more than 700 billion cubic meters of shale gas being newly proved. New breakthrough has been made in the deep shale gas exploration in Luzhou and Weiyuan blocks. In the Southwest gas province, China's largest base of shale gas production has taken shape with daily output of 30 million cubic meters.

Tight oil/gas

The abundant tight oil potential in China's Ordos, Junggar, Songliao, Sichuan, and Qaidam and Santanghu basins provides a solid resource base for our oil and gas development. We made progress in the R&D of tight oil exploration and development technologies, facilitating the large scale development of those basins.

We develope tight oil by using long horizontal intervals, casing cementing, fast drillable bridge plugs, high-flowrate operation, and SRV fracturing technologies. Additionally, we strengthen the application of CO2/sand dry fracturing and large-displacement fissure control SRV fracturing, resulting in increased tight oil/gas production and profits.

At Changqing Oilfield, main technologies for developing I+II+III strata have taken shape, and three horizontal well SRV fracturing test blocks and three pilot development areas for tight oil production have been in place and saw remarkable increase in the per-well output. At Xinjiang Oilfield, profitable development has been promoted further in the Mahu Sag and progress has been made in production capacity evaluation in the Jimsar Sag. At Daqing Oilfield, 10 of its 14 tight oil test blocks are completed and on stream, capable of producing 200,000 tons per year. In Shanxi Province, tight gas exploration activities report major breakthroughs at the Daning-Jixian Block, and high yield gas flows are obtained from a number of test wells in the Hedong and Hexi areas.