China's shale gas production is surging, but...

Chinese National Energy Bureau expects that the country will produce 1.5 billion cubic meter of shale gas in 2014. It is more than 7 times amount of last year's production. China only produced 25 million cf of natural gas in 2012, but the current rapid growth of production is likely to raise the output to 6.5 bcm in 2015.

However, the growing shale gas output is still ignorable levels, since total natural gas production in China was 107 bcm in 2012. Shale gas production in China can not make up for the slowing down of total gas output.

In the United States, shale gas production already accounted for 35% of total natural gas supply in 2012.

In China, the growth of conventional gas production is not able to catch up with the increase of consumption. In addition, the growth of shale gas output is not enough. Therefore, imports are surging especially in 2010s.

But China's annual natural gas imports were equivalent to 3.2 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas in 2012. Japan imported 87 million tonnes of LNG in the same year. The huge difference suggests that severe competitions between China and Japan over the procurement of natural gas are unlikely to be seen in the near future.

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