China has accelerated the pace of shale gas development from 2010. A series of policies were issued by the Chinese government to motivate and regulate shale gas exploration and exploitation. In order to investigate the effectiveness of these policies and provide reference to the policymakers, the most relevant policies from 2010 to 2016 were collected and analyzed. Our study summarized that, in total, eight government agencies issued 25 related policies, which cover all the main problems that impede China’s shale gas industry. With the aid of these policies, the approved research and development (R&D) funds exceed 350 million Chinese yuan (CNY) ($55 million), and over 80 domestic companies participated in exploration rights bidding and nine foreign companies initiated thirteen international cooperation projects. In 2016, China’s shale gas production reached 7.88 × 109
, ranking third in the world. However, these policies still have some shortcomings, such as low environmental concerns, weak financial stimulus, and inefficient implementation. Therefore, we suggest that future policy should put particular emphasis on (1) formulating special environmental regulations and determining development scale based on water resource; (2) providing detailed implementation plans and maintaining stable subsidy; (3) enhancing communication and supervision; and (4) establishing a public big data platform.
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