China announced the results of its most extensive official appraisal of shale gas reserves on Thursday, having found potentially recoverable resources of 25.1tn cubic metres – less than previous estimates.
Although the figure is lower than an earlier estimate of 31tn cubic metres, China is still believed to have some of the largest reserves of shale gas in the world and has been working to develop shale gas as a cornerstone of its energy policy. The new estimate is enough gas to meet the country’s current consumption for nearly 200 years if fully extracted.
The Ministry of Land and Resources said China’s complicated geology and lack of technological expertise would make extraction difficult but reaffirmed that shale gas would be central to the country’s energy policy.
Global oil companies, including Shell, Chevron and BP, have been active in working with Chinese majors such as CNPC, Cnooc and Sinopec to develop local shale gas reserves, although none of these projects has yet produced shale commercially.
China is the world’s biggest consumer of energy and significant domestic shale gas discoveries could enable it to reduce its imports of oil and gas…
As the rest of the piece makes clear, there’s many a slip between cup and lip, and all that, but this is not news that should bring a great deal of joy to Tehran and Riyadh. Cry me a river.