Global mining company BHP Billiton plans to spend around $4.5bn on developing its new shale gas business stakes.

This year the company entered the market via the acquisitions of US shale gas firms Petrohawk Energy and Chesapeake Energy.

BHP petroleum chief executive Michael Yeager said: “This is going to be a gamechanger around the world and for BHP Billiton not to be part of it would be irresponsible.”

BHP said its shale gas spend would be around $5.5bn a year by 2015, and about $6.5bn a year in 2020.