The shale gas boom is heading east. The Chinese government recently opened up bidding on the country's energy-rich shale formations. PetroChina
The auction only encompasses Chinese companies. However, a government official said that foreign companies are welcome to "join hands" with the winners. Chesapeake Energy
Chesapeake has already teamed up with China to develop several prominent U.S. gas fields. Over the last year, state-owned Chinese oil giant CNOOC
CNOOC is getting a crash course in fracking, a drilling process the Chinese must master in order to tap their own shale gas reserves. And Chesapeake is establishing itself as China's top shale gas guru. The complexity of tapping shale means China will likely need the company's help.
To this point, Chesapeake is the only company partnering with the Chinese on U.S. shale gas projects. This makes Chesapeake the likely choice for any future partnerships on Chinese soil.
The bottom line
The Chinese are rushing to extract domestic shale gas to meet its own skyrocketing energy demand. If they seek Chesapeake's help, the company could enjoy access to some of the world's most coveted gas formations. That prospect might make Chesapeake a great stock to own as we enter the golden age of natural gas.