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China shale gas holds great promise, Shell executive says

Australia’s coal seam gas and China’s shale gas resources hold great promise for future global gas supply, Royal Dutch Shell PLC Chief Executive Officer Peter Voser told the 25th World Gas Conference during a speech in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on June 5.

“China’s potentially enormous deposits could play a major role in helping boost the share of natural gas in its energy mix, and easing its dependence on coal,” Voser said.

Shell is working with China National Petroleum Corp. on several projects, including Changbei tight gas field in Shaanxi province, Voser said.

“While there’s no doubt these abundant gas reserves around the world can be tapped, society should not underestimate the substantial investment and highly complex technology required to do so in a safe and responsible way,” he said.

South Africa, Indonesia, and India also hold significant deposits of shale and CSG, he noted.

He noted “vocal opposition among some environmental groups” regarding the potential safety and environmental effects of developing these resources. “This has resulted in some misconceptions about the impact of hydraulic fracturing,” he said, adding that fracing is a technique that has been tested over many years.

“One area of concern that has attracted more recent attention is greenhouse gas emissions—especially methane—from shale gas production. We know methane releases can be significantly reduced by using proven technologies,” Voser said.

At its Pinedale operation in Wyoming, Shell installed a system to help us stop methane leaks detected with an infrared camera.

“But clearly more research is needed to understand the true extent of methane releases from the gas industry,” he added.


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