Fracking watch: China figures out what CA hasn’t

April 28, 2013

By Chris Reed

This week in Sacramento, environmentalists’ push to block hydraulic fracturing — fracking — in California has a crucial first test. On Monday, AB 1301, which would halt in-state fracking, comes before the Assembly Natural Resources Committee. As I noted Saturday, fracking has been scrutinized by the Obama administration, which concluded it was just another heavy industry. Groundwater contamination claims are goofy, given that fracking occurs thousands of feet under the water table. But it’s all green groups have to slow down the brown energy revolution. Another fact I didn’t mention Saturday: Fracking has been around 60 years-plus. Greens never griped about it until it got much more efficient because of three-dimensional underground surveying that makes it easier to precisely aim underground water cannons.

Starting with Saturday’s post on Germany, I will blog each day about a nation that sees how fracking threatens to give the U.S. a huge economic advantage — cheaper energy — and wants a piece of the action. What is my point? That sane people making reasoned long-term decisions embrace fracking, whatever California’s Legislature does.

China-printable--flagFracking sanity chapter No. 2: China

America’s arch-rival is pursuing fracking on a crash course after an unprecedented invitation to Western oil giants to help them out. This is from a March post on China Digital Times that amounted to a round-up of recent reporting on hydraulic fracturing’s arrival in the world’s second-biggest economy:

“Estimates of China’s shale gas resources differ. China’s Ministry of Land and Resources estimates reserves of 886 trillion cubic feet (tcf), while the U.S. Energy Information Administration puts the country’s resources at 1,275 tcf. The upper estimates would mean China sits atop more shale gas than the U.S. and Canada combined. According to China’s 12th Five-Year Plan, by 2015 China should be extracting 6.5 billion cubic meters of shale gas per year, with a view of producing 100 billion cubic meters by 2020. China’s goal is to meet 10 percent of the country’s energy demands from shale gas the same year. ……

“The opening of a recent tender to foreign companies demonstrates the extent to which the often go-it-alone Chinese Communist Party feels it needs to secure a rapid and successful energy boom. Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, Exxon Mobil and British Petroleum are all jointly surveying the key provinces of Sichuan and Guizhou with local companies. As part of the new tender, other joint ventures are expected to follow.”

Bloomberg News reports Royal Dutch Shell’s partnership with China is well under way, not just gearing up:

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) will spend $1 billion a year developing China’s unconventional gas reserves, including shale deposits, according to Peter Voser, the company’s chief executive.

“Shell has won government approval for its production sharing contract with China National Petroleum Corp., the nation’s biggest oil and gas company … . Shell and CNPC had drilled 24 wells by November and planned a further 14 this year …”

If the state branch of the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council get their way, California will see its last manufacturing job exit in less than a decade. Cheaper energy is an immense competitive advantage in the global economy. Nearly the entire world understands this, as my series will show.

Fracking watch

No. 1: Germany

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