China expressed a desire to increase its investment in US shale gas during talks between the two countries on Wednesday, a US official said.
Output from shale fields in the US and Canada has jumped in recent years with the increased use of drilling methods such as hydraulic fracturing. Companies in China, which has the largest shale reserves in the world, are keen to get the know-how for drilling in such unconventional fields.
As the world’s largest energy consumer, China is also scouting for oil and gas supplies abroad to feed its energy appetite.
China already has about US$5.5 billion invested in US natural gas, and said it also welcomes greater US investment in China’s own energy industry, the US administration official said.
Chinese and US officials met to discuss energy issues as part of the two-day US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Washington this week.
“There’s a very strong Chinese interest to be able to benefit and learn from American technology and American investment,” the US official told reporters on condition of anonymity. “There’s a recognition on both sides that we both gain from investing in each other’s energy markets, and a commitment to work to resolve obstacles that might exist to investment.”
However, Chinese firms also face obstacles to investing in certain strategic sectors, and China regularly complains that the US blocks access to plum investment prospects on national security grounds.
US companies, for their part, complain China heavily restricts foreign investment in about 100 different sectors.