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China finds 'small amount' of gas in East China Sea+
[March 30, 2006]

China finds 'small amount' of gas in East China Sea+

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)BEIJING, March 30_(Kyodo) _ Chinese companies have found a nominal amount of natural gas in the East China Sea, an executive of China Petroleum and Chemical Corp. said Thursday.

Drilling under the ocean east of Shanghai has turned up "not a very large amount" of natural gas, company vice chairman Wang Jiming said on the sidelines of an energy efficiency press conference.

He said he did not know the exact amount discovered. He did not say in what part of the ocean gas had been found.

China Petroleum and Chemical, better known as Sinopec, is a state-owned firm in charge of energy exploration and distribution.

China National Offshore Oil Corp., China's largest offshore crude oil and natural gas producer, said in January that the Chunxiao gas field in the East China Sea was ready to start production in the first half of this year.

A Chinese consortium of companies also has been tapping a gas field called Tianwaitian. Both fields are about 400 kilometers from Shanghai and near a median line that Japan says demarcates its exclusive economic zone.

Tokyo says China's drilling may hit a gas vein that extends into its territory. China does not recognize the median line. The two countries are negotiating about what to do in the disputed region.

China used 50 billion cubic meters of natural gas last year and expects to use as much as 120 billion tons by 2010, said Wang. Gas is now 8.3 percent of China's energy supply, third after coal and crude oil.

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