It's possible that China will "wreak havoc" on natural gas markets around the world if it is able to develop its shale supply, said Energy Department Counsel Melanie Kenderdine.
While that potential lies 10 to 15 years down the road, it could be beneficial to the United States and the rest of the world, loosening Russia's tight grip on global natural gas markets, she said at an event sponsored by the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, The Hill reports.
"That will affect Russia," Kenderdine said, offering "an enormous opportunity for the world." Shale supply in Africa and Eastern Europe could do the same, she said.
The main issue for China is how easily it can extract shale gas. The nation is far behind the United State in production technology, and its deposits aren't near water.
In the United States, shale gas has gushed amid the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking), which requires huge water supplies. Fracking injects a mixture of water, sand, and chemicals into rock clusters to reach buried oil and natural gas.
Already the U.S. boom has affected international energy markets, pushing down prices, Kenderdine said.
Chevron hopes to bring the fracking industry to Eastern Europe, Bloomberg reports. "This resource could certainly enhance energy security within Europe and also bring enormous economic benefits," said Chevron vice president Ian MacDonald.
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