Businesses in China are set to invest around ¥12.8 billion (£1.3bn) for shale gas exploration in the country.
A total of 16 firms have been awarded exploration rights on 19 shale gas areas to search and develop the “blocks” in the next three years, according to the Chinese Ministry of Land and Resources.
The news follows China’s aim to produce 6.5 billion cubic metres of shale gas every year by 2015. Last November, the Ministry of Finance said the Government plans to pay ¥0.4 to shale gas developers for every cubic metre of energy produced from 2012 to 2015.
The nation is believed to have the world’s largest shale gas reserves, with a total of around 25 trillion cubic metres.