Dart Energy <DTE.AX> said on Monday Total would acquire a 40 percent
interest in two licenses in Lincolnshire, in central England, paying
$1.6 million in back costs and up to $46.5 million funding a shale
Total would become operator of the licenses once the work program is
The investment is tiny in oil industry terms, and especially small
in the context of the tens of billions of dollars spent every year
by Total, one of the world's top five investor-controlled oil and
However, having such a large player as a partner will be a feather
in the cap of industry minnows Dart Energy <DTE.AX>, Egdon Resources
<EGRE.L>, IGas <IGAS.L> and eCORP Oil & Gas UK Ltd, with which Total
will partner on two exploration licenses.
"This opportunity is an important milestone for Total E&P UK and
opens a new chapter for the subsidiary in a promising onshore play,"
Total's senior vice president for northern europe, Patrice de Vivies,
said in a statement.
Total is already involved in shale gas projects in the United
States, Argentina, China, Australia, Poland and Denmark, bringing
expertise to advance Dart's shale prospects, Dart CEO John
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Geological studies show Britain to have large shale reserves, which
could reverse a rising dependency on energy imports, but more
drilling is needed to see whether the deposits are economical.
Britain's government has thrown its weight behind shale gas
exploration despite strong local and environmental opposition to the
controversial extraction practice of hydraulic fracturing, or
fracking — one of the techniques used to develop shale and
unconventional gas blocks.
Dart last year sold down stakes in 13 shale licenses in Britain to
GDF Suez <GSZ.PA>, helping to fund extensive exploration.
(Reporting by Sonali Paul)
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