China has got a lot of shale gas. To the tune of 1,275 Tcf of technically recoverable shale reserves, by some estimates. But today it is all still sitting in the ground. If that potential is tapped in any significant way, it will have a huge impact on global gas balances, with implications for LNG markets, economic competitiveness and geopolitical clout. But a lot of obstacles must be removed before the promise of Chinese shale gas can be realized. Last week I spoke at the Global Unconventional Gas Summit, held in Beijing. After listening to two days of presentations on the issues, I came away with the view that while some of these barriers are inherent in the Chinese system, probably the biggest barrier is a general misunderstanding of why shale gas developed the way it did in the U.S.
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