PRODUCTION has started at the Chuandongbei project, an onshore natural gas facility jointly owned by Chevron and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).

Covering an area of over 800 square kilometres in the Sichuan basin in southwest China, the Chuandongbei project consists of several gas fields including the Luojiazhai, Tieshanpo, and Dukouhe-Qilibei gas fields.

It was at the Luojiazhai gas field that gas was produced on 25 January, CNPC said in an announcement, with production expected to ramp up over coming months as all three trains come on line.

Luojiazhai gas field is designed to produce 3 billion cubic metres of gas per annum and now has a daily capacity of 9.8 million cubic metres, CNPC said.

It also boasts the Nanba gas processing plant – a purification plant with a capacity of 3 billion cubic metres per annum, as well as 400 kilotonne per annum sulphur plant, a gas gathering station and gas collecting pipelines some 29 kilometres long.

Together, the project’s three trains have a combined design outlet capacity of 258 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, while the Chuandongbei project is estimated to contain potentially recoverable natural gas resources of 3 trillion cubic feet.

CNPC holds a 51 per cent stake in the Chuandongbei project, while it is operated by Chevron subsidiary Unocal East China, with a 49% stake.

Chevron executive vice president for upstream Jay Johnson said the delivery of first gas highlighted his company’s leadership in developing sour gas resources.

“The project will be an important supplier of clean and affordable energy to the rapidly growing economy in southwest China,” he said.