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Shale gas in China: tantalizing banquet for private, foreign firms


08:46, December 11, 2012

BEIJING, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- Chinese authorities have been welcoming private and foreign firms to tap the country's vast shale gas deposits, but new entrants have felt impeded by obstacles.

The Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) released the results of the second round of shale gas auction last Thursday. Two Chinese private firms, along with 14 state-owned enterprises, won the biddings.

The second round of bidding attracted 83 enterprises to vie for 20 reserve blocks. But the MLR offered minimal geological information for each block auctioned.

"Information sharing is very important for the oil and gas sector. The less data, the more risks, and the more prudent investors will be," an unnamed analyst with an international oil-services firm said in the Dec. 3 edition of Caijing magazine.

The MLR said on Nov. 22 that it encourages eligible private companies to explore and exploit the country's shale gas reserves, and foreign companies can also join in through Sino-foreign partnerships.

The Ministry of Finance has also promised to offer shale gas subsidies through 2015 to spur development of the resources.

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