China Petroleum and Chemical Corp. said Monday its first commercial shale gas field, Fuling, is online and ahead of schedule with peak output expected by 2017. "The discovery and construction of Fuling shale gas field, China's first-ever large-scale shale gas field, symbolizes a significant strategic breakthrough in shale gas development in China and a much earlier entry into large-scale commercial development," the company's chairman, Fu Chengyu, said in a statement. The company, known also as Sinopec, said the field has estimated reserves of 74 trillion cubic feet and has a peak production capacity of 350 billion cubic feet per year. By the end of the year, Sinopec said production from Fuling should reach 63 billion cubic feet per year and ramp up from there. Sinopec said China aims to replicate the U.S. success with shale natural gas by producing more than 220 billion cubic feet of its own shale gas per year by 2015. The Sinopec chairman said shale gas is part of a national effort to lower its emissions and called shale gas a strategic asset for the Chinese economy.