China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) says it will spend more than 150 billion yuan ($22 billion) by 2020 to boost oil and gas output in the western region of Xinjiang, to offset falling output from ageing fields in northeast China.
The increased spending will push output in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region to more than 50 million tonnes of oil equivalent between 2018 and 2020, CNPC said.
The spending is equivalent to the annual expenditure by CNPC’s listed unit Petrochina, China’s top oil and gas producer, for oil and gas exploration and production in 2017.
The investment underscores the need to replace output from the Daqing oilfield in northeastern province of Heilongjiang as well as the push to increase the country’s natural gas output to meet growing demand for the fuel as part of Beijing’s shift away from coal.
Beijing also wants to increase development in the unruly Xinjiang region, which borders Central Asia, where hundreds have died in ethnic unrest in recent years.