TOTAL yesterday became the first international energy major to tap into the UK’s burgeoning shale gas market, as it unveiled a 40 per cent stake in two exploration licences.
The French energy group said it had acquired two interests in the Gainsborough Trough area of the East Midlands, for up to $48m (£29.3m). “This opportunity is an important milestone for Total E&P UK and opens a new chapter for the subsidiary in a promising onshore play,” said Patrice de Viviès, Total’s senior VP for Northern Europe.
The investment is small but is expected to encourage other major energy companies to follow Total’s lead. The Prime Minister’s spokesman yesterday cited the investment as an example of progress the government is making on shale.