With the depletion of conventional fossil resources and growing demand for energy, unconventional energy is playing a more important role in the world energy market. Nowadays, unconventional gas production contributes to around 50% of total gas output in the USA Shale gas has significantly changed the energy portfolio in the USA and reduced America's dependence on oil and gas imports. The case histories of four major shale gas plays in the USA, Antrim, Barnett, Haynesville, and Marcellus, are discussed in this paper. It is concluded that the phenomenal shale gas success in the USA benefitted from improved horizontal drilling and fracturing technology, positive government policy and tax incentives, and mature surface pipeline system.

China is facing with soaring energy demand and the pressure to cut greenhouse gas emission. These factors have motivated oil operators to explore and exploit the enormous shale gas resources in China, especially in the Sichuan and Tarim Basins. But several factors may hinder the future of shale gas in China. Firstly, Chinese operators have to develop suitable drilling and fracturing technologies. Secondly, lack of water resources may restrain fracturing operations. Thirdly, China lacks mature pipeline system. Fourthly, the Chinese national oil companies may not be interested in producing shale gas due to its low price and low profits. Therefore, it is emergent for the Chinese government to invest in innovations and infrastructure, and allow independent and private companies to engage in the shale gas business.

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