Prospects for Shale Gas Development in Asia

Examining Potentials and Challenges in China and India

The development of unconventional gas resources, especially shale gas, in China and India—two of the world’s fastest-growing economies—warrants close observation because of the potential economic and energy security benefits that successful development could bring to the two nations. An April 2011 assessment of international shale gas resources by the U.S. Energy Information Administration cited technically recoverable shale gas resources (not reserves) in China at 1,275 trillion cubic feet (tcf) and in India at 63 tcf, compared with 1,250 tcf for the United States and Canada combined. China and India have already begun exploring their substantial indigenous shale gas resources, but the question of how well they can replicate the U.S. experience—and over what time period—still looms large. The geological characteristics of shale deposits can vary widely, affecting the potential production profiles. Factors discussed in this report suggest that the pace of development of China’s and India’s shale gas resources could be significantly slower than the North American experience.

Jane Nakano
Senior Fellow, Energy Security and Climate Change Program
David Pumphrey
Senior Associate (Non-resident), Energy Security and Climate Change Program

Robert Price Jr. and Molly Walton

Robert Price Jr., and Molly A. Walton