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China faces challenges in developing shale gas sites

Keywords: Tags  Yan Cunzhang, PetroChina, shale gas, Offshore Technology Conference, Thorsten Schier


HOUSTON — China faces significant challenges in developing its shale gas reserves, according to Yan Cunzhang, president of the foreign cooperation administration department at PetroChina Co. Ltd.

"Shale gas in China is promising but challenging," he said at the recent Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.

The country faces a number of hurdles in developing its shale gas industry that the United States, for example, has not had to deal with, he said.

"Land (in China) is a precious resource. Water is also precious," Cunzhang said, citing China’s population density and the need for between 10 and 20 cubic meters of water for drilling a well.

Also, the Asian nation’s shale gas formations, mainly located in its central and western regions, aren’t as rich as those found in the United States. "Shale gas formations in China are less feasible," Cunzhang said.

As a result, the drilling and consumption of natural gas in the country is still in its infancy.

"Natural gas holds only a small share of energy consumption," with "only small drilling facilities" currently operational in the country, he said.

"The success of shale gas in North America is an exciting story. However, if it can be duplicated in other parts of the world remains to be seen," Cunzhang said.


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