China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec), China's second largest oil company, said Monday it had discovered the country's biggest gas field, with proven reserves of 251 billion cubic meters (8.8 trillion cubic feet).
Asia's largest refiner by capacity said the Puguang gas field in Sichuan province, in China's southwest, had a technical exploration capacity of 188 billion cubic meters.
As part of the the first phase of development, Sinopec said it was targeting annual output of four billion cubic meters of gas by 2008 and eight billion by 2010.
The government has approved preliminary exploration plans, the company said in a statement filed with the Shanghai Stock Exchange.
Sinopec has a total of 12 exploration blocks in the Sichuan basin and surrounding areas with acreage of 100,000 square kilometers.
It will also build a natural gas pipeline connecting the field with Jinan city in Shandong province in the east. No further details were provided.