Providers of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” equipment and services are eyeing the Chinese market to expand their offerings—and the Obama Administration initially will cough up $378,000 so the industry can travel to China to further examine such potential opportunities.
The U.S. Trade & Development Agency (USTDA), an independent White House agency, is providing the grant for what it calls the U.S.-China Shale Gas Training Program, which will “help introduce Chinese energy sector officials and project sponsors to U.S. shale gas best practices, policies and technologies.”
USTDA last month had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) for this program, according to a solicitation that U.S. Trade & Aid Monitor located via routine database research. The initiative’s Statement of Work (SOW) says:
This project was requested during the 2012 U.S.-China Oil and Gas Forum and supports the U.S. China Shale Gas Resource Initiative led by the U.S. State Department, as well as the work associated with the U.S.-China Oil and Gas Forum led by the U.S. Department of Energy.
The endeavor will center on the provision four two-day technical workshops that a USTDA contractor will hold in China over a twenty month period. The agency anticipates hosting 50-75 Chinese participants hand-picked by the China NEA “in cooperation with USTDA.”
These participants largely will “come from Chinese government entities and the Chinese firms that have been awarded blocs for shale gas…” the SOW says.
The program’s stated goal is to “optimize the potential for U.S. exports, pointing out that “In less than a generation, the United States has soared to world leadership in extracting natural gas from shale formations through hydraulic fracturing.”
U.S. companies, it continues:
view the current development of shale gas in China as an opportune time to engage this largely untapped market. The Chinese government and its oil and gas companies are also looking to the United States for guidance as they recognize many hurdles exist before the shale gas industry can reach full commercialization.
Considering that U.S. companies already hold that position of world leadership in that industry segment, the document left unclear why U.S. taxpayers will fund its further expansion.
USTDA already is setting its sights on funneling even more cash from the U.S Treasury to this successful industry sector, which is led by multinational corporations such as Halliburton Corp. and Schlumberger Ltd.
Indeed, the SOW makes clear that this Chinese “training program,” as the agency calls it, “is also expected to be an effective business development tool” for an upcoming USTDA-funded feasibility study as well as other “technical assistance activities in the shale gas sector.”