The Chinese Ministry of Land and Resources said there was an estimated 886 trillion cubic feet of natural gas deposits in onshore shale reserves.
"China is rich in shale-gas resources, which are suitable for scaled development," the ministry said in a statement. "But the geological conditions are complex and our exploration technology, which lags behind advanced countries, requires innovation."
The ministry said it discovered shale natural gas reserves in exploration blocks that could hold significant volumes of reserves. The country aims to start developing shale by 2015, though there are no commercial shale gas developments yet in China.
Beijing aims to add more natural gas to its energy mix in an effort to control pollution. Shale gas could play a dominant role by 2020 if reserve estimates meet expectations, the government said.
China Petroleum Corp. announced recently it landed a $900 million deal with U.S. energy company Devon to tap into shale natural gas reserves in the United States.