(EnergyAsia, May 21 2014, Wednesday) — Research and consulting firm GlobalData has identified two large Asian countries as the next hotspots for the development of unconventional oil and gas resources, with Australia having the edge over China.

According to the UK firm, China has approximately 643 billion barrels of prospective shale oil and 4,746 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of risked shale gas in-place, of which around 32 billion barrels and 1,115 tcf are estimated to be technically recoverable.

“China is aiming to develop its shale oil and gas and CBM resources rapidly, in order to meet increasing demand for these products,” said Joseph Gatdula, GlobalData’s senior upstream analyst.

But China is unlikely to quickly commercialise its shale resources because of the country’s shale geology, water scarcity and the crucial lack of a support sector to provide horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing services.

Australia, on the other hand, has already begun developing its vast coal bed methane (CBM) reserves to support the long-term export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Asia. Queensland state is preparing to start up two major plants this and next year to produce CBM-based LNG for export.

“The Cooper Basin has emerged as particularly well-suited for shale development, due to the presence of substantial gas processing capacity, gas-pipeline infrastructure and service providers for fracking and well drilling activities in the nearby area,” said Mr Gatdula.

GlobalData has also assessed the potential of Argentina, Poland, Canada and Venezuela for their shale gas potential. Poland possesses an estimated 1.8 billion barrels of shale oil and 146 tcf of shale gas resources, while Argentina’s estimated technically recoverable shale resources amount to 27 billion barrels of oil and 802 tcf of gas.