China has begun drilling a 10,000-meter hole in the ground for the second time this year as it seeks ultra-deep reserves of natural gas.
China National Petroleum Corp. on Thursday began drilling the Shendi Chuanke 1 Well in Sichuan province, with a designed depth of 10,520 meters (6.5 miles), Xinhua News Agency reported.
The project follows a similar-sized well that CNPC began drilling in Xinjiang in May, described at the time as the deepest ever undertaken in China.
While the earlier well was described as experimental in nature, with the project designed to test drilling technologies and provide data on the Earth’s internal structure, the Sichuan undertaking is seeking to find ultra-deep reserves of natural gas, according to Xinhua.
Sichuan, the southeastern province known for spicy food, spectacular mountain views and pandas, is also home to some of China’s largest shale gas reserves.
The nation’s state-owned oil giants have had only limited success tapping their potential, though, because of difficult terrain and complicated underground geology.
China’s government has put pressure on energy companies in recent years to enhance fuel security by boosting domestic production amid a series of power shortages, geopolitical strife and global price volatility.