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A worker checks the valves at a Sinopec natural gas appraisal well in Langzhong county, Sichuan province. China wants to move fast to its replace dirtier, smog-producing fuels such as coal.
A worker checks the valves at a Sinopec natural gas appraisal well in Langzhong county, Sichuan province. China wants to move fast to its replace dirtier, smog-producing fuels such as coal.
(STRINGER SHANGHAI/REUTERS)

China’s shale gas expansion may surprise the naysayers

China’s shale gas ramp-up may surprise the skeptics. Beijing wants drillers to increase output from a standing start to a third of current U.S. levels – around 270 billion cubic meters (bcm) annually – by 2020. That’s a stretch. But on plausible assumptions, the People’s Republic could get there within a decade. New discoveries and further joint ventures with the likes of Texas-based FTS International would help.