Commercial fracking in the UK has moved a step closer to reality today with the news that oil and gas business Total has acquired a 40% interest in two shale gas exploration licences.
The interests are in Petroleum Exploration & Development Licences 139 and 140 in the Gainsborough Trough area of the East Midlands region of the UK which cover an area of 240km2.
On completion of the transaction, Total’s partners in the project will be GP Energy (a subsidiary of Dart Energy Europe) (17.5%), Egdon Resources UK (14.5%), Island Gas (IGas) (14.5%) and eCorp Oil & Gas UK (13.5%). IGas will be the operator of the initial exploration programme, with Total subsequently taking over operatorship as the project moves towards development.
Total is seen as an experienced fracking operator with shale gas project already underway in the Argentina, Australia, Denmark, Poland and the US. Total senior vice president for Northern Europe Patrice de Viviès said that the business will leverage this expertise for the new venture in the UK.