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China taps shale gas through combined efforts (3)


08:13, October 08, 2012

Adjusting technology & policies

Technical hurdles are another challenge facing the nascent energy sector.

After the United States' successful exploration of unconventional mineral gases, many countries rich in shale gas reserves have turned to the clean, highly efficient energy source, especially amid the recent oil price hikes on the global market.

But experts said that imported foreign exploitation technology may not be well-suited to China's geological conditions, and Chinese companies have to work out their own way instead of relying heavily on foreign know-how.

Experts also worried that shale gas exploitation would face the same plight as natural gases.

"As shale gas production scales up, problems such as insufficient infrastructure will become bottlenecks for exploitation," said Zhang Dawei, an analyst with the Strategic Research Center of Oil and Gas Resources under the MLR.

In the US, the extensive pipeline network for natural gases has greatly reduced the cost of exploiting shale gas, whereas China's current pricing mechanism for natural gases has kept investors away, experts said.

The authority should grant more third-party access into network facilities to encourage a more open, efficient marketplace, experts suggested.

To address the issue, Chinese energy authorities and executives met with their US counterparts on a forum in San Antonio, Texas, in mid-September to discuss the role the government could play in regulating shale gas exploitation and managing subsequent safety and environmental problems.

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