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Western oil and gas companies flock to China to explore shale gas resources

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January 7
8:45 PM 2014

Western oil and gas firms are flocking to China to hopefully capitalize on the birth of the country's shale gas industry, the Financial Times reported. One of them is Scotland-based Weir Group which held its first ever Christmas party last month for its 75 customers and suppliers in the Chinese oil and gas industry. Weir is one of the world's leading makers of hydraulic fracturing pumps.

With China looking to develop its shale oil and gas resources, it potentially becomes a large market for Weir and other western companies. Weir's Chief Executive Officer Keith Cochrane told FT, "It's going to be a long time before China reaches the US level. But there's no question they are serious."

American energy costs and imports have been reduced with the US shale revolution, a feat that is looked upon with envy by Chinese planners, the report said. Meanwhile, the US looks at China's efforts to hold its own shale revolution as a chance for American business. If China would be able to generate its own boom in the shale industry then its oil and gas industry could become a powerful force to reckon with in the world markets. However, the Obama administration thinks that the possible benefits that could be gained would be able to outweigh the possible harm that it can do to US businesses, the report said.

Aside from Weir, other international oil firms like ExxonMobil Chevron and ConocoPhillips, both based in the US as well as Royal Dutch Shell, Total and Eni from Europe, have already inked agreements to explore China's shale resources. Even firms that give services for oil and gas production like Schlumberger, Halliburton, Baker Hughes and Weatherford, have also increased their presence in China.

Still, the future of China's shale industry remains questionable. Production is beset with challenges and progress still remains unsatisfactory. In the end, its development will become a test of China's geology, the skill of its engineers and even of its economic model, the report said.

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