Now China gears up for the shale gas revolution

China has reserves of shale gas at least 50% greater than in the US and is the latest country hopping onto the fracking band-wagon. The Chinese are looking to acquire minority interests in technology companies owning fracking technology in the US and are pushing ahead with their plans for production of shale gas. It seems quite clear now that whenever the global economic recovery finally gets going, the availability of shale gas will be one of the contributing factors. I expect we shall see a boom in exploration for shale gas reserves, in increasing production of shale gas and a boom in gas-fired power generation. There may well be a boom in the sales of gas turbines for power generation within the next 2 -3 years.

“Peak” gas is nowhere in sight. And the fracking technology developments seem to have application even for the recovery of large amounts of gas from methane gas hydrates which are found under deep sea-beds (>500m deep) and even under thick layers of permafrost. While this may take another 10+ years to develop, it makes it even more unlikely that any “peak” gas scenario can develop.

Shale gas reserves: Reuters graphic

Forbes reports:

The Chinese government will step into fifth gear this year when it comes exploring for natural gas hidden under thick shale rock beneath the earth’s surface, an official said over the weekend.  China’s been promising to move forward on shale gas production for the past two years. 

The Ministry of Land and Resources said Sunday that China will strengthen the survey and appraisal of shale gas in 2012 to expedite discovery and development of China shale deposits. The move comes after the recent approval of the State Council in the capital to list shale gas as an independent mineral resource. China is slowly moving towards producing shale gas.

Currently, the country does not have any shale natural gas production, adding to the country’s overall lack of natural gas in its energy matrix. …. At the end of of 2011, China energy majors Sinopec (SNP) and Cnooc (CEO) have expressed interest in acquiring a 30% stake in privately held Texas-based fracking company Frac Tech International to operate in the U.S. If that deal ever closed, China would gain the necessarily expertise to pursue shale gas exploration at home.

Shale gas production has become all the rage in the U.S. because it potentially increases the U.S. supply of natural gas, a clean burning energy source. But drilling through shale is nothing like drilling for conventional natural gas. New technologies have made shale gas production possible. …. 

And a few days ago Reuters reported that the Japanese were beginning to drill off their coast for under-sea methane hydrates.

TOKYO Feb 3 (Reuters) – State-run Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp (JOGMEC) said on Friday it would start drilling wells off the coast of central Japan from around Feb. 14 ahead of trial methane hydrate production slated for January-March 2013.

Methane is a major component of natural gas and governments including Canada, the United States, Norway and China are also looking at exploiting gas hydrate deposits as an alternative source of energy.

Since 2001, resource-poor Japan has invested several hundred million dollars in developing technology to tap methane hydrate, with the potential to replace some imports of natural gas.

Methane hydrates are believed to be plentiful under the seabed near the country, and Japan hopes to complete development of technology for commercial production by 2018/19. …

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One Response to “Now China gears up for the shale gas revolution”

  1. The Age of Gas: China has enough shale gas for 200 years « The k2p blog Says:

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