China could be starting its own natural gas fracking revolution

China National Petroleum (CNPC), the largest state-owned producer of oil and natural gas in the China, reportedly plans to nearly double natural gas production from shale sources this year and wants a five-fold increase in such production by 2020.

China has a lot of natural gas reserves but it has tougher geology than the USA for producing. China’s gas is in mountainous and tough terrain without as much water. Water would help with production.

CNPC plans to produce 5.6 billion cubic meters (bcm) (197.8 Bcf) of natural gas from unconventional sources in southwestern Sichuan province in 2018, according to a report Tuesday by Caixin Media. The company reportedly plans to drill more than 330 new wells targeting the Sichuan Basin in 2018, and wants to have more than 820 shale gas wells in operation by 2020, with total annual production of 15 bcm (529.7 Bcf).

Last April, analysts with Wood Mackenzie estimated that China’s unconventional natural gas production would reach 17 bcm (600.3 Bcf) by 2020.

In 2017, Russian natural gas growth was the largest by far at 46 bcm, (8.2%) followed by Iran at 21 bcm (10.5%), Australia at 17 bcm (18%) and China 11 bcm (8.5%).

Gas output in China rose to a record 147.4 billion cubic meters (bcm) last year, up 8.5 percent from 2016, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.

China, the world’s largest energy consumer, was the world’s sixth-largest gas producer in 2016 after rising investments over the past 20 years. However, consumption is surging even faster, climbing 15 percent in 2017 to 237 bcm.