China quietly cut its 2020 goals for shale gas, a goal that was so ambitious that few took the number seriously.
The goal – to ramp up from zero commercial production of shale gas to 60-80 billion cubic meters by 2020 – was met with skepticism both inside and outside China when first announced. Now, the country is back stepping a bit, cutting that goal to 30 billion cubic meters by the end of the decade and combining it with coal bed methane (CBM). While natural gas output is growing at a fast clip in China (production in the first half of 2014 was up 7.5% from a year earlier), China produced a total of 116 billion cubic meters of natural gas last year, from all forms of extraction. Notably, the announcement came via a statement by the head of China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) Wu Xinxiong on an industry website instead of an official statement on the NEA’s own site.