Exxon Mobil Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson told the World Gas Conference in Kuala Lumpur that natural gas was driving economic growth across the board.
"We are living at a historic moment in the evolution of energy markets," he was quoted by Bloomberg News as saying. "How we respond will shape the quality of life for generations to come."
Tillerson said Asian demand for natural gas could double within the next 30 years.
Peter Voser, chief executive at Royal Dutch Shell, said in a separate address that the gas boom means major economies like China can replace coal with cleaner natural gas.
"Natural gas is quickly becoming a key enabler of economic growth and environmental progress around the world," noted Tillerson.
China is estimated to hold at least triple the shale natural gas reserves as the United States, which is the largest global producer of natural gas.