Beijing: China's energy company Sinopec said it has discovered a natural gas field with around 160 billion cubic meters of proven reserves, deposited nearly 7 km underground.

The Yuanba gas field in Sichuan Province is the deepest ever gas field in marine strata found in China, with its deposits reaching as deep as 6,950 meters, according to the Sichuan-based Sinopec Exploration Southern Company.

The field contains 159.25 billion cubic meters of reserves in an area of 155.33 sq km, and the planned annual output capacity will be 3.4 billion cubic meters by 2015, said the company, which is subsidiary of the Sinopec Group.

Taking forecast reserves into account, the total reserves could reach 828.63 billion cubic meters, said Guo Xusheng, general manager of the subsidiary company.

The Yuanba field is another major finding by Sinopec in Sichuan after it discovered China's second largest gas field Puguang.

Sinopec started exploring the Yuanba area in 2006 and formally began development and construction of the gas field in late August.

Sinopec Group said in April that the development of the Yuanba field will play a significant role in ensuring the country's energy security, a news agency reported.