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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Royal Dutch Shell says it has signed a deal with China National Petroleum Corp. to seek, develop and produce shale gas.

Shell says the so-called production sharing contract is the first signed with China to exploit shale gas and covers a 3,500 square kilometer (1,350 square mile) region of the Sichuan Basin.

Shell CEO Peter Voser says in a statement China has "huge shale gas potential" and Shell is "committed to making a contribution in bringing that potential into reality."

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