China is on the forefront of shale gas exploration among Asian countries. China’s annual output of shale gas is expected to grow from near zero in 2012 to 6.5 billion cubic meters in 2015 and at least 10 times that by 2020, the government said in its March 16, 2012 development plan. The move is seen as reducing reliance on dirtier coal and so cutting carbon emissions, but could encounter the same problems as the fracking boom in the U.S. around water use, water contamination, earthquakes from drilling reinjection, and methane leakage. The plan urges Chinese companies to work with foreign companies and research institutes with experience in finding and exploiting unconventional natural-gas resources. The Wall Street Journal said that “could open opportunities for foreign companies, which are eager to tap the market.”

Other Asian countries including Malaysia are currently exploring fracking as a way to capitalize on shale gas deposits.