China has announced it will hold a public auction of shale gas next month.
The auction, which is expected to boost exploration and development of the gas, will include 20 shale gas blocks in eight provinces, covering an area of 20,002 square kms.
The participants are allowed a maximum of two bids and must be registered in China with a capital of at least 300 million yuan (£29.6 million). They must also be qualified in oil and gas mineral exploration or should co-operate with qualified Chinese companies.
China is estimated to hold the world’s largest reserves of unconventional gas. It aims to produce 6.5 billion cubic metres of shale gas every year by 2015 and 100 billion by the end of the decade, according to reports.