Shale gas has radically changed the energy landscape in North America in recent years, and China is looking to follow suit.
According to the US Energy Information Administration, only the US, Canada and China produce shale gas in commercial quantities. But only the first two have significant shale gas production. Shale gas accounted for 39 percent of total natural gas production in 2012 in the US, and 15 percent in Canada. The number in China is less than one percent, though the country is believed to be sitting on the world’s largest recoverable reserves of shale gas.
China’s Ministry of Land and Resources says the country has detected 134 trillion cubic meters of shale gas, 25 trillion of which are recoverable. China has launched two auctions where a broad range of companies were encouraged to bid for exploitation rights. But efforts to emulate the US have been slow. As of September this year, not one of the 16 firms that won exploration rights had ever drilled a gas well.