Sinopec Corp., China’s biggest shale gas operator, said on March 25 it plans to develop a new field this year able to produce 1 billion cubic meters (Bcm) of shale gas annually.

The state-run company said the field will tap a proven reserve equivalent to 124.7 Bcm of gas at Weirong in the southwestern province of Sichuan. This marks its second major shale gas discovery after a flagship development at Fuling in the Chongqing region, situated in the same geological basin of Sichuan.

The company is drilling for shale gas in a 20,000-sq-km area in southern Sichuan as well as western Chongqing. It earlier set a target to produce 10 Bcm per year of shale gas by 2020.

China’s shale gas output accounts for only a small part of the country’s total gas production, at about 6%.

Separately, Sinopec reported high volumes of gas flows in an exploration well Dongye-1 in the Dingshan-Dongxi Block, close to Chongqing. The well, which extends some 4,200 m below surface level, yielded daily output of 310,000 cu. m in test production, Sinopec said.