FRENCH oil group Total is ploughing $2.3bn (£1.47bn) into the development of US shale gas reserves in Ohio in the latest example of global energy companies piling into new energy sources made economic by the high price of crude.
In a deal with Chesapeake Energy, which the US group announced in November without identifying its partners, Total will take a 25 per cent stake in a joint venture covering the Utica Shale area of eastern Ohio.
North America has seen a boom in investment in energy resources such as shale gas in recent years, raising the prospect of the US reducing its dependence on imported energy.
Mining giant BHP Billiton spent nearly $17bn buying shale gas producer Petrohawk Energy and shale gas assets from Chesapeake Energy earlier this year.
City A.M. Reporter