The United States is examining its shale gas potential as a way to address energy security issues. European countries like Poland and Ukraine are doing the same, though France has enacted a moratorium on shale gas exploration because of environmental concerns.
Jeroen van der Veer, a former chief executive officer at Royal Dutch Shell, told delegates at a petrochemical summit in Berlin, that shale could be a "game changer" if managed effectively, the Platts news service reports.
"Personally, I'm in favor of full transparency and I think Shell will very soon come out with announcements in this direction," he said.
Van der Veer was referring to chemicals used in the extraction of shale gas. Critics note that some of the chemicals used in the extraction process, known as fracking, pose a significant risk to underground water resources.
Energy companies counter that fracking, if done correctly, doesn't pose a significant environmental threat. Some environmental regulators in the United States note that shale gas exploration has a long safety history.