To accomplish China’s twin goals of peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060, the country will need to accelerate its transition to a clean and low-carbon energy system. However, at the same time, President Jinping Xi has ordered an acceleration in the development of domestic natural gas, targeting production of 260-300 billion cubic meters per annum. This rise in domestic oil and gas production is considered the cornerstone of China’s future energy security and will involve greatly increasing the production of deep and tight gas, and finding ways to develop unconventional gas economically and efficiently. Shale gas production will form the backbone of future energy supplies, supplemented by coal-bed methane. Natural gas hydrate (NGH) has been designated the back-up energy resource.
In the paper, “The prospect of natural gas hydrate (NGH) under the vision of Peak Carbon Dioxide Emissions in China”, five researchers from Southwest Petroleum University in China report on their research into the large-scale development strategy of 85 trillion cubic meters of NGH in the South China Sea, and consider its importance to national energy security.
They report that the development and use of natural gas hydrate is an important factor in achieving the "double carbon" goal. According to the research team, “the domestic conventional natural gas supply remains rigid while the stimulation of unconventional natural gas is still limited. Realising the large-scale development of the 85 trillion square meters of NGH in the South China Sea, could not only greatly reduce China's dependence on foreign natural gas supplies, but also guarantee the safety of China's natural gas multi-path supply and the sovereignty of the South China Sea. In addition, the goal of peak carbon dioxide emissions and carbon neutrality would be achieved in no time.”
The authors conclude that the initiatives and technology that China already has in place ensure it has a promising future for commercial NGH development.
Their research was supported by the Strategic Research on Deep-sea Gas Hydrate Development by 2035, "One hundred Excellent Consulting projects celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Founding of the Communist Party of China" of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.