China’s biggest coal-producing province of Shanxi is considering mass exploitation of shale gas reserves in an effort to curb environmental pollution.
After more than two years of surveying, geologists have estimated that the province has a shale gas reserve of 4.44 trillion cubic meters, Xinhua quoted an official with the provincial land and resources department as saying.
Further study will be carried out to select sites for commercial exploration of the new energy source, said the official.
The survey, which started in 2013, was conducted by Shanxi Coal Geological Bureau and two local energy companies.
The basins of Erdos and Qinshui are rich in shale gas, and the thickness and high content of organic carbon and brittle minerals are suitable for exploration, the survey has found.
“Exploration of shale gas will help reduce the dependence on coal and cut carbon dioxide emissions,” said the official.
The province started drilling the first shale gas exploration well in Xixian county in 2013.
China has about 26 trillion cubic meters of shale gas reserves, the largest in the world. While regular natural gas is extracted from sedimentary rocks, shale gas, mainly methane, comes from delicate shale formations, Xinhua said.
Known as the “sea of coal,” Shanxi has produced more than 14 billion tonnes of coal over the past six decades, a quarter of the country’s total output. However, its coal industry lost $1.4 billion last year due to economic slowdown and transforming energy structure, it added.