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Strategic questions about China’s shale gas development

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China has to promote its shale gas exploration and exploitation because of the need for economic and social development. The huge shale gas reserve provides a reliable source for upgrading its economic development. This paper analyzes the strategic measures and advantages for a safe and vigorous development of shale gas in China and suggests the reasons for the financial conspiracy of the shale gas revolution by reviewing the developments of hydraulic fracturing technologies in China. The three strategic advantages include reserve advantage, market advantage, and favorable policies. In addition, three strategic measures are proposed: technical innovation, managing system restructuring, and infrastructure construction. Some key problems in shale gas stimulation are proposed, including the mechanics of fracture network propagation, characteristics of fluid flow in horizontal shale gas wells, and the outlook for the next research plan and experiments. Due to the imperfect managing and running of the systems for China’s shale gas development, it is argued that China should take some more effective and powerful measures, for example, through establishing an overriding authority for managing shale gas projects to coordinate the work between ministries and agencies, to enhance the efficiency and improve the effectiveness. The paper concludes by presenting strategic measures for enhancing the construction of infrastructure which is a crucial foundation for the shale gas market, such as reinforcing the construction of gas pipeline and weakening the threshold of entry requirements for natural gas pipelines, to enhance their efficiency.

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The work presented in this paper was funded by the Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University (NCET-11-1062, 973 Program (2013CB228004), Sichuan Provincial Youth Science and Technology Fund (2012JQ0010), and Program for Innovative Research Team of Southwest Petroleum University (2013XJT001).

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Correspondence to Hai Yang.

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Zhao, J., Liu, C., Yang, H. et al. Strategic questions about China’s shale gas development. Environ Earth Sci 73, 6059–6068 (2015).

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