has enormous shale gas resources according to the EIA) and Qatar (which was not assessed). Both are already major conventional gas exporters. Neither country has an interest in producing large volumes of unconventional gas as well.
The main exception is the United States, which has produced enormous amounts of shale gas, and is now producing large volumes of shale oil, in addition to its large conventional output. The result has been a dramatic drop in prices which has caused severe problems for natural gas producers and cut returns for oil drillers.
In the United States, however, oil and gas exploration and production is disbursed among a large number of companies, the market is highly competitive, and strict antitrust rules outlaw any attempt to coordinate production decisions.
In contrast, in countries like Algeria or Libya, let along Qatar or Saudi Arabia, production is in the hands of one or a small number of companies, under state control or at least heavily regulated. Monopoly suppliers of oil and gas are likely to produce less and seek higher prices.
Only countries like Argentina or Ukraine, which have relatively modest conventional production but large shale resources, are likely to push for rapid development of unconventional resources.
China is something of an intermediate case. The country has enormous unconventional gas resources, especially in the Sichuan basin, which the government is keen to develop. But until now most of the prospecting activity has been controlled by a small number of state-owned firms that already produce conventional oil and gas.
Some observers, like the International Energy Agency, question whether this has blunted their incentive to explore and develop shale fields. The latest licensing round seems to try to solve that problem by awarding exploration licences to a much wider range of firms, many of which do not currently have conventional output.