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Resource Evaluation of China's Shale Gas Deposits and Development Recommendations


An assessment of the global shale gas formations published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration in June 2013 suggested that China has the largest technically recoverable shale gas volumes around the world. This has the potential to change not only China's energy structure (CH4 replacing coal), but also the global energy layout at large, assuming that science-oriented and fact-based reservoir characterization and resource development schemes are implemented appropriately. A great deal of quantitative research work on China's shale gas resources is necessary to help understand the science and determine the facts about distribution, quality, and optimal exploitation pathways. This article focuses primarily on an overall resource evaluation of China's major shale gas deposits based on a combined analysis of raw data and open literature relating to the depositional, structural, petrophysical, and geochemical properties of those gas-bearing shale formations located in several sedimentary basins with great shale gas potential. Moreover, a comparative study of some reservoir characteristics such as Total Organic Carbon (TOC), thermal maturity, and mineral composition between some of China's typical shale gas formations and some successfully evaluated and developed shale gas reservoirs in North America is also included in this article to help raise some initial suggestions for the development of China's shale gas resources, based on similarities and differences deduced from the comparison, as well as an assessment of North America's successful practices.