Sinopec (NYSE:SNP) already owns 42 shale blocks in eastern China. China's Ministry of Land and Resources said earlier this week that it will auction rights to six shale blocks within the next month. In addition to Sinopec (NYSE:SNP), PetroChina (NYSE:PTR), China's largest oil producer, and Cnooc (NYSE:CEO), the country's biggest offshore driller, are expected to make bids.
Chinese energy producers are looking to replicate the success of their U.S. counterparts in producing shale gas, which is extracted by using water and chemicals to break tight rock formations in a process known as fracking.
Sinopec (NYSE:SNP) declined to give further details on its potential partnership with BP (NYSE:BP), Europe's second-largest oil company, beyond confirming the companies are in talks.