Skip to main content

Feeding the giant: Shale Gas and Coalbed Methane could meet China’s energy demands

World Coal,

China has maintained its position as the world’s greentech leader despite continuing global economic volatility and slowing domestic growth, with vast unconventional domestic gas reserves, including shale gas and coal-bed methane, potentially easing the country’s energy shortfall.

The latest analysis by The China Greentech Initiative (CGTI) - The China Greentech Report 2012 - reports that while the greentech sector faces macroeconomic challenges, China’s overwhelming need for energy and environmental technology will continue to propel rapid growth in greentech markets.

The report cites China’s “urgent” needs in energy and environment driving developments. The country now imports over half of its oil, in addition to its over-reliance on coal, producing high emissions of carbon and other air and water pollutants.

China’s domestic conventional gas production is described as “stretched to the limit”, but vast unconventional domestic gas reserves, including shale gas and coal-bed methane, could ease China’s gas shortfall, which is expected to grow nine-fold by 2015. The industry would however need to overcome major pricing, regulatory, distribution and water challenges.

Allan Zhang, director, PwC Sustainability and Climate Change, is a specialist in environmental policy and economics in China. He commented:

“The basic fact is that to ensure energy security and supply, China has no choice but to develop and use new forms of energy to meet the growing and seemingly insatiable demand. Technological advances over the years have made wider use of unconventional gases possible, and opened up new sources of energy supply, although many technical hurdles still exist.

“Companies with experience of advanced technologies, or management skills in exploring Coalbed Methane projects on a large commercial scale will be in a great position in the market. The lack of experience and know-how of the Chinese companies in dealing with unconventional energy such as shale gas offer the European and American companies the chance of riding on China's rapid development.”

Other findings from The China Greentech Report 2012 include:

  • Private equity and venture capital investments in China’s private water sector increased from US$ 50 million in 2010 to US$ 400 million in just the first four months of 2011. 
  • Wind and solar farms costs have fallen dramatically: onshore wind farms in China can now be completed for around RMB 7000/kW and photovoltaic (PV) system costs have decreased from RMB 74,000/kW in 2007 to less than RMB 13,000/kW in late 2011 with costs continuing to drop. 
  • Though China’s green building market is small, building energy efficiency policies will likely lead to rapid industry expansion over the next five years. 
  • China began the Construction Phase of its 2009 - 2020 Strong and Smart Grid Plan in 2011, initiating the world’s largest effort to build a reliable, efficient and smart grid.

Given the scale andrapid growth of China’s energy needs, to secure its energy supply, China hascontinued an earlier trend of overseas expansion, with companies going abroadfor energy deals in the areas of oil and renewable energy. The deals in 2011also highlighted a new push for investing in basic infrastructure, such asEuropean water and power grid utilities, to achieve asset diversification andfinancial returns.

Adapted from a press release by David Bizley

Read the article online at:


Embed article link: (copy the HTML code below):