China aiming for increased shale gas exploration in 2012
China will increase efforts to explore shale gas in 2012, a move that is hoped will help restructure the country's energy supplies.
Realizing scale production of shale gas will help ease the country's natural gas shortage and even change its entire energy supply structure, Ministry of Land and Resources minister Wang Min said.
Currently, China has no commercial shale gas production, but shale gas has become an increasing important source of natural gas in the United States and Canada.
The government will strengthen the survey and appraisal of shale gas this year to speed up the development of the shale gas industry.
The move comes after the recent approval of the State Council, or the Cabinet, to list shale gas as an independent mineral resource, making the total number of mineral resources discovered in China to 172.
China is known to have a rich reserve of shale gas resource, which is estimated at 31 trillion cubic meters, equivalent to the total amount of conventional natural gas.
If developed properly, the country's shale gas output will exceed 100 billion cubic meters in 2020, Wang said.
Shale gas is produced from shale through a complicated process called hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking".
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