The oil and gas industry has its own version of The Amazing Race, and it involves scouring the globe for analogues to North America's great oil and gas shale plays, like the Bakken and the Barnett. All sorts of Asian energy players have struck joint ventures with independents like Chesapeake Energy
So far, most of the shale headlines are being made in China. Royal Dutch Shell formalized the first shale gas development partnership with PetroChina
In the neighboring province of Guizhou, BP
To complete our Chinese shale roundup, we also recently learned that Hess
In my recent look at the proliferation of shale hunters over in Poland, I cautioned that the early stage analysis and development of that rather hyped play could take years of preliminary study and experimentation before any substantial gas volumes are produced. Sinopec has similarly reined in expectations regarding Chinese shale gas, saying it targets large-scale development in five years.
The majors discussed here can afford to be patient. Investors will have to practice this virtue as well when it comes to international shale development. Note the scale of the enterprises involved to date. I recommend exercising extreme caution if you come across small-cap companies promising quick Chinese shale riches.