The discovery of shale gas in China prompting speculation the country could be transformed in the same way the US market has.
The find, reported yesterday (December 6) by fossil fuel giant Royal Dutch Shell, could see China’s growing need for energy served by its own resources.
However, shale gas is highly controversial with reports linking it to earthquakes in the UK and the questions over the amount of pollution caused by the drilling, especially to water sources.
But, in the US vast discoveries of shale, gas which has traditionally been too expensive to drill, have turned the country from an importer to an exporter creating a new industry.
China’s discovery of oil reserves last decade transformed the country’s power basis and was part of its financial boom.
Now according to analysts China is expected to ‘make an impact’ on the global gas market over the next ten years as a steadily growing gas consumer.
Economist Intelligence Unit industry analyst, Peter Kiernan, said: “Just as China made an impact on the global oil market in the last decade, China is expected to make an impact on the global gas market over the next ten years as a steadily growing gas consumer.
“China is a key focus area for development of unconventional gas, outside the US, for the world’s major oil and gas companies; not just Shell.
“Development of shale gas is a high priority for the Chinese government as China’s gas demand is expected to rapidly increase over the next decade and beyond.
“Therefore China wants to alleviate the expected growing dependence on gas imports.”
Mr Kiernan added China also wants to ‘prioritise’ gas development to shift away from coal usage