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Cautious optimism over China's shale-gas plans

The country’s huge reserves are not living up to their promise

China could become the world’s largest importer of natural gas over the coming decades. But its extensive unconventional gas resource base could help stem its rising reliance on foreign energy supplies. “Significant shale gas production could start taking the heat out of gas import growth around 2025,” Gavin Thompson, an Asian gas specialist at Wood Mackenzie, told Petroleum Economist. The energy research firm forecasts shale output to hit between 120bn and 140bn cubic metres (cm) in 2035. But given China is pumping just 5bn cm per year (cm/y) now, the projection is “undoubtedly the single biggest risk factor in our China gas analysis,” added Thompson. It’s no secret that China’s shale gas

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