In an attempt to move away from dirty coal fired power stations, China is in the midst of a huge fracking boom. In spite of difficult terrain, including mountainous, arid, remote and also highly populated regions, Chinese firms can now drill multiple wells at a single pad (‘well-factory’ drilling) and can carry out extended horizontal fracturing up to 3,000 meters. Reuters
Although still far from the extent found in the USA, a recent survey by oil and gas consultants Wood Mackenzie reports Chinese energy giants are making significant progress unlocking natural gas from shale rock formations, creating a shale revolution with output scheduled to double by 2020.
Poster in Beijing showing the polluted groundwater (Jason Lee – Reuters)
However, as with all other areas in the world where fracking has taken a hold, things are not going to plan and there are now serious concerns about groundwater pollution. The Financial Times recently reported that in the township of Xiaohaotu in central China, the water is “beyond repair” and residents are engaged in a campaign of protest and have support from people across the country.