China is set to stage its second auction of shale gas exploration blocks in the fourth quarter of this year, Bloomberg reported. More Chinese companies will be invited to participate in bidding than during the first auction, which was held in June. Zhang Dawei, the deputy director of oil and gas strategy research at the Ministry of Land and Resources, said that while plans have not yet been finalized, the organizations aims to complete the auction by the end of the year. China is reckoned to have about 1,275 trillion cubic feet of shale gas, around 48% more than the US. Foreign companies are currently forbidden from bidding in the auction, but several multinationals – including Chevron (CVX.NYSE), BP (BP.NYSE, BP.LSE) and Statoil (STO.NYSE, STO.OSLO) – are in talks with domestic firms to form joint ventures.