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Chinese and US firms partner on shale gas tech

Investment holding company will work alongside Schlumberger to develop China’s shale gas potential

China is hoping to draw more private investment into its energy sector to help shore up economic growth - US private companies could be key to this

Anton Oilfield Services Group has taken a stake in Schlumberger as part of plans to develop shale gas in China, according to reports this week.

The North American oilfield services company wants to strengthen ties with the group in China, it said on Thursday.

Shale gas development is still at an early stage in China where technically recoverable reserves of the unconventional fuel are estimated to be higher than in the US.

China, which wants to draw more private investment into its energy sector to help shore up economic growth, is expected to hold its second shale gas auction this month, with private investors allowed to bid for the first time.

"Through the stock purchase, Schlumberger hopes to strengthen its ties with Anton Oilfield in China," Anton chairman Luo Lin told reporters at a conference call to brief on the company's business strategy.

"We are in talks to expand our cooperation. I believe unconventional gas is an area with bright prospect for cooperation. Shale gas will be a focus of our cooperation".

Schlumberger can help improve Anton's shale gas drilling technology while it can also use Anton's staff manpower to help it expand in China, he said.

Schlumberger this week acquired about 20.1 per cent of the privately-controlled Chinese oilfield service provider for an estimated USD 80 million, amid a rapid increase in China's natural gas demand, Reuters reported.

The Chinese company has also been working with Schlumberger in gas storage service and gas exploration in the Tarim basin in northwest China, Luo said.

Anton Oilfield has said Schlumberger would not be involved in the management of Anton and its cooperation with other business partners would remain unchanged.

Shares of Anton ended down 3.82 per cent at HKD 1.51 on Thursday, underperforming a fall of 2 per cent in the benchmark Hang Seng.

 

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