|Abstract: ||Even though China has been engaged in shale energy development for over 60 years, the only country that is able to turn shale energy into a profitable business is the United States. The shale boom in the US has changed the prospect of shale energy, assuring the rest of the world that shale energy development is no longer a waste of time and money.
After almost two decades of solid economic development at an explosive rate, China is struggling with rising energy demands and costs, rising labor costs, environmental degradations. Therefore, the US shale boom seemed to offer the hope that China eagerly needs – a source of energy that China has rich deposit in. If successfully extracted at a reasonably low cost, shale energy will be able to replace coal, which is causing huge environmental backslash in China; it will also ensure ample energy supply at a relatively low cost which could reduce China’s heavy reliance on foreign energy.
The Chinese government is enthusiastic about the potentials shale energy has and is determined to create its own shale boom. However, the shale reserves in China have proven to be poorer in quality and harder and more costly to extract. As a result, China’s major national oil companies have been reluctant to invest because of the dismal prospect of financial returns. The general public is mostly against the shale energy development because of the negative environmental consequences associated with it.
China needs shale energy and should develop this energy source at least as a replacement alternative for coal. However, there are real challenges China faces such as its lack of sufficient market mechanism and policy structure, lack of public support due to perceived negative environmental implications, as well as the geological challenges. Therefore, shale energy development in China requires much more than just zeal, it calls for patience and step by step strategies such as encouraging private and foreign investments, developing appropriate technologies, building necessary technical expertise and professional workforces as well as pipeline networks, etc. to ensure the success of China’s shale energy development.|