Sinopec to boost gas capacity two-thirds by 2020 – chairman

China Petroleum & Chemical
Corporation (Sinopec) , plans to boost its
domestic natural gas production capacity by about two-thirds by
2020, its chairman said on Wednesday, part of plans to develop
clean energy.

The state-owned company aims to increase its domestic
natural gas capacity to 40 billion cubic metre (bcm) by 2020,
from 23 bcm currently, Chairman Wang Yupu said at a news
conference in Hong Kong.

Wang said Sinopec had prioritised natural gas in the
company’s development plans in the coming five years.

Sinopec, also Asia’s biggest oil refiner, produced 734.79
billion cubic feet (20.81 billion cubic metres) of natural gas
last year, up 2.6 percent from the previous year, and plans to
produce 865 billion cubic feet this year, its annual results
published on Tuesday said.

China, the world’s top energy user, is keen to boost cleaner
burning natural gas consumption to tackle air pollution.

Sinopec cut crude oil production to 349.47 million barrels
in 2015, down 3.1 percent from the previous year, and plans to
reduce output further to 332 million barrels this year due to
low prices.

The low prices trimmed Sinopec’s net profits in 2015, which
were 32.44 billion yuan versus 46.47 billion yuan in the
previous year.

Wang said all the company’s oil fields would make profits if
oil prices rose to $60 a barrel.

Brent crude prices lost about a third last year and
fell to multi-year lows of below $30 in January 2016. The price
has risen since then and was $39.72 on Wednesday.

Wang said oil prices could not stay low for a long time as a
price range between $30 and $40 was below costs of some
producers.

“For oil prices, we would not put a conclusion. (But) such
low prices for long time is not realistic,” Wang said.

Wang said China’s crude oil imports would continue to rise
this year as the country’s domestic economic growth was targeted
at least 6.5 percent in 2016.

China imported 335.5 million tonnes of crude oil in 2015, up
8.8 percent from the previous year, as the world’s
second-biggest crude buyer took advantage of low prices.

Sinopec processed 236.49 million tonnes of crude oil in
2015, up 0.5 percent from the previous year, and plans to
process 238 million tonnes this year, the company said in its
annual results.

(Reporting by Polly Yam; Additional reporting by Chen Aizhu in
BEIJING. Editing by Jane Merriman)

The article Sinopec to boost gas capacity two-thirds by 2020 - chairman was originally published at Reuters - US Energy.