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China Dismisses the Environment in Pursuit of Shale Boom

A recent report by the independent publication Caixin, investigated China’s plans to develop its fracking industry. According to a white paper that the report looks at, China’s government “calls for ramping up the industry and pumping 6.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas from underground shale formations by 2015.”

China loves the idea of fracking because it offers a low carbon alternative to coal, which currently provides about 70% of the nation’s energy needs.

The US already has its own huge shale gas industry so really there should be no problem if China wishes to develop their own; however there is when China give no regard for ground water protection, or other environmental safety measures.

Worryingly Caixin held interviews with industry sources, government officials, and environmental campaigners, and found out that fracking in China has come under little pressure or scrutiny compared to in the US, and was “much less addressed by the Chinese government or controlled via environmental laws.”

Related Article: Let the Fracking Begin in Europe - Very Cautiously

The biggest threat that facking holds is to China’s meagre water resources. China has about 20% of the world’s population, but only 6% of the world water, making it one of the water-poorest countries in the world. This water shortage is only exacerbated by the fact that 40% of China’s rivers are heavily polluted.

In order to achieve the government’s production target of 6.5 billion cubic metres of natural gas by 2015, around 1,380 wells must be drilled across the country, requiring 13.8 million cubic metres of water, and as the report states, “most of the nation's shale gas lies in areas plagued by water shortages.”

By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com


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  • Enviro Equipment Blog on November 29 2012 said:
    Fracking may indeed be a water-intensive drilling method but there are new technologies being developed right now -by ThermoEnergy Corp and ECOtality- which will allow for recycling of frac water, either in part or in whole, by the end of this decade.

    So expect China to become far more energy independent as they slowly reduce their imports of coal and oil in the not too distant future.

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