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China Hits It Big With Shale Gas

China is poised to become the world’s largest producer of shale gas, though that might take a few decades. Still, test drilling has confirmed the Chinese are sitting atop the world’s largest reserves of the unconventional natural gas resource. The FT reports:

PetroChina, the listed subsidiary of Chinese oil and gas producer CNPC, told the Financial Times it had drilled about 20 wells in its shale gas acreage in southern Sichuan province and that initial results had been positive. “The wells are producing more than 10,000 cu m of gas per well per day,” said Mao Zefeng, PetroChina senior assistant secretary to the board. “We are still assessing the exact size of the potential reserves.”

China does not yet have any shale gas wells producing commercially, but several companies have exploratory projects underway, including Sinopec, PetroChina, Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Chevron. China has more shale gas reserves than any other country in the world, with 1,275tr cu ft of recoverable shale gas reserves, according to estimates from the US Energy Information Administration. That is enough to supply China for more than 300 years, based on current consumption levels.

This is good news for almost everyone. Energy competition across the globe will be less dire: both the US and China have vast reserves of homegrown shale gas. Thankfully, vast reserves of energy resources at home make armed conflict over resources abroad far less likely.

Moreover, current energy exporting countries — often unstable or misguided — will have less clout in the global energy market. China, long a supporter of repressive regimes in petro-states, will — in the future — be able to supply much of its energy needs at home. The US will too. This will reduce the influence and income of states like Iran, which sends much of its oil and gas to China.  This is also one more piece of bad news for Russia; with Europe, the US and China all finding more gas at home, the world’s energy map is changing in ways that could make things a little more stable.

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  • Kenny

    Mr. Mead, Mr. Mead.

    Don’t take everything the Chicoms say as the literal truth.

    Dollars to donuts, they’re exaggerating on this shale gas announcement.

    now I’m not saying that China does not have some natural gas potential, but to believe they’re “sitting atop the world’s largest reserves” is ….. shall we say, highly questionable.

    But it make a sounding good story, huh?

  • Toni

    Remember, the shale revolution is the result of innovation by people trying to make money. So are Canada’s tar sands (whose oil Obama wants to send to China).

    This is the way capitalism is supposed to work. GE and Wall Street gaming the system isn’t. Nor, for that matter, is the Democratic effort to punish oil and gas companies when prices are high.

  • Luke Lea

    Well, this ain’t a done deal yet. Let’s hope “early reports” turn out to be true.

  • Corlyss

    I swear, American envirothugs are in the direct pay of the PLA.

  • Some Sock Puppet

    Dang. While you make excellent points, I was really hoping for a weakened China. Or at least an enlightened revolution.

    They’re a little too willing to go the route of the bully.

  • Gregg White

    Bring on the Keystone!

  • grichens

    Kenny, you are not going to read the FT article, are you?

  • aaron

    Kenny, it was the US EIA that came up with the numbers.

  • Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    If an article exists behind a paywall, who’s to say it actually exists?

  • Mkelley

    Thank goodness we have the Democrat Party in the US to prevent this sort of energy production here. We will be huddling in the cold and dark by the time they give the Sierra Club everything they want.

  • pep

    “We will be huddling in the cold and dark by the time they give the Sierra Club everything they want.”

    You are dead wrong. They don’t want us huddling. They don’t want us, period. They, however, will continue to exist, to protect Gaia or something.

  • Charley

    China does have the potential shale basins. They are not uncommon. Knowing they were there was not really worth much since there was no way to get the gas out, until the long laterals and fracing were developed and used.

    Look at the Paris basin and at the developments in Israel for large potential resources. It really is causing a brain damaging blood pressure rise for the Just Say No greenies.

  • grichens

    Dr. Ken: It doesn’t.

  • Abelard Lindsey

    Don’t take everything the Chicoms say as the literal truth.

    Dollars to donuts, they’re exaggerating on this shale gas announcement.

    No, I think its real. Eastern and central China has geology that is very similar to that where shale gas is being found in the U.S. I expected the Chinese to find these reserves in their own country.

    In any case, this is good news. That the energy reserves exist in all of the industrial or industrializing countries is a good thing. Even the Europeans and Indians have vast reserves of shale gas.

  • Black Sabbath

    @Kenny, post 1.
    What would you say if China did indeed have a lot of shale to tap?
    Would you say they should.
    Would you say we should tap our shale?

    I’m curious as to why you opened the comments with what looked like a weak attempt to defend the Left’s policy to cripple America via blocking natural resources in favor of solar and wind – which have proven worthless.

  • a nissen

    My guess is that he future of humans lies somewhere between these two comments inspired by the Revkin/ Klein exchange (Revkin at the controls)

    A. Canada, U.S. and China wise up
    by migs Spokane, WA
    “I’m not so sure that market forces won’t be able to deal with many of the impacts of climate change. North American markets, like China, will likely need both negative and positive governmental incentives. For example, despite all the fuss about the Alberta tar sands, the province has been innovative in developing an advanced carbon-capure bitumen refinery and a CO2 pipeline to use the captured CO2 to inject into old oil patches abd for other uses. (… The motivation is a combination of profit and the Canadian climate change mitigation policies. It is also implementing a “refine it where we mine it” value-added mentality. They are smart. A Keystone pipeline will send bitumen to Texas, for export , often overseas. Much more of the Keystone profit will leave Canada. An Alberta refinery will allow the fuel to be used at home or exported at a higher-value grade. Perhaps eventually the CO2 pipeline could also feed into a bioreactor industry similar to what PetroAlgae it exploring, provided that there is clean water available. Unlike factory emissions, a CO2 pipeline feed can be throttled down as needed which can allow more controlled biofuel growth.”

    B. What will be, will be
    by Sean Colorado Springs, Colorado
    The train has already left the station. Currently China is producing almost 50% more CO2 than the United States. Adding roughly one coal burning power plant a week China’s pollution isn’t going to slow down anytime soon. Offsetting China’s growth in pollution would require a level of cooperation and sacrifice that, unfortunately, just isn’t possible in this country. That’s the honest truth.”

  • teapartydoc

    China is huge. There has to be something down there somewhere.

  • stas peterson

    I’m glad that the old stupid Malthusian verities are dying. The old watermelon assertions are dead.

    Those laments of the eco-Wackos that there isn’t enough energy, or resources, so put us in charge and we will decide who needs it.

    It is about time. Meanwhile their assertions that the Earth is polluted and growing more so everday is just as dead.

    The North America countries are close to having to plan National Celebrations and Holidays after completing the job begun in earnest 41 years ago.

    We will celebrate having completed the job of bringing Clean Air and Clean Water across the entire continent. Today only a few residual pockets of endemic pollution remain.

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