If the Department of Energy approves several applications for natural gas export terminals, about a fifth of U.S. shale gas could be exported to countries such as China, India and Japan, according to a government official. However, the department will not rule on export licenses for shale gas until at least next year, as it is awaiting two economic-impact studies, said John Anderson, head of natural gas regulatory activities at the department's Office of Fossil Fuels.

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