China's natural gas sector will develop quickly in the near future, which offers "golden opportunities" for business and cooperation, an Hong Kong-based think-tank said in a report on Monday.
The paper, known as "CEFC China Energy Focus: Natural Gas 2013", was released by the China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC) at the National Press Club in Washington DC.
Fueled by the U.S. shale gas boom and the promise of a green economy in China's 12th Five-Year Plan, natural gas "appears to be a most feasible and accessible option to aid in resolving China's energy dilemma," said Dr. Patrick Ho, deputy chair and secretary general of CEFC at the report's launch.
Ho said there was "ample room" for the development of natural gas in China in the near future, which "offers golden and attractive opportunities to investors, entrepreneurs, collaborators and keen professionals."
Besides conventional natural gas, the report also discussed the prospect of China's production of unconventional natural gas, like shale gas, which is at its beginning level.
The report said China has a massive reserve of unconventional gas that offers a bright prospect in the long term. But at present there are still a lot of challenges to solve.
Challenges such as exploration rights acquisition, geological survey, pipeline infrastructure, drilling and exploration technologies and even accurate statistics for commercial supply cloud the future of China's unconventional gas development, the report said.
To further develop unconventional gas, the report said China needs to develop more drilling technologies, pipeline network and set a market-oriented approach for gas pricing and development rights.
Unconventional natural gas has raised world attention as the International Energy Agency (IEA) said at the end of last year that the United States was expected to near "energy independence" by 2035, thanks to the boom of shale gas in the country.
However, the sustainability of shale gas in the United States is still in doubt.
The sale price of shale gas in the United States still can't cover the production cost at present and quick development over the last few years was mainly driven by heavy investment, said Chen Weidong, chief energy analyst of the Energy Economic Research Institute, China National Offshore Oil Corporation, at the launch meeting.
The CEFC is a nonprofit NGO engaged in energy strategy research, energy and public diplomacy, as well as global energy cooperation and cultural exchange.