China may begin producing shale gas before the end of 2015 to meet growing demand for cleaner-burning fuels, Bloomberg reported, quoting Che Changbo, deputy director of the Ministry of Land and Resources’ oil and gas strategy center. The country should expand its cooperation with foreign companies to accelerate the verification of reserves and improve technology, Che said, speaking at a conference in Beijing. China has already drilled more than ten wells and signed several cooperation agreements with foreign companies, including Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA.LON) and Chevron (CVX.NYSE), to launch pilot projects within China. Beijing has set a target of tripling its use of natural gas to roughly 10% of energy production by 2020. China has 1,275 trillion cubic feet of “technically recoverable” shale gas reserves, according to estimates from the U.S. Energy Department, 12 times more than its proven reserves of conventional gas. “Once we start large-scale production, shale gas … will play an important role to supply China’s energy needs,” Che said.