France’s Total allocated 50 million dollars to finance acquisition of prospecting stakes and exploratory drilling for shale gas and oil in eastern Britain in Lincolnshire, East Midlands (photo).
Total will pay 1.6 million dollars to take over 40% of the commercial rights to two exploration licenses in the Gainsborough Trough geological basin. According to Natural Gas Europe, licenses are now held by IGAS Energy and Egdon Resources, Dart Energy and eCORP International.
According to the Financial Times, quoted by Mediafax news agency, the UK could hold huge reserves of shale gas. More than 36,000 billion cubic meters of gas are estimated to be captive in the waterproof rocks known as shale. Materializing only 10% of the estimated volume would be equivalent to Britain’s gas needs for 51 years.
The initiative from Total follows the one of another major French energy company. In October 2013, GdF Suez signed a 24 million sterling punds exploration agreement with Dart Energy.
To encourage the development of shale gas industry, the British government promised significant tax reductions, and significant benefits to local communities that will host the operations. Shale gas extraction by hydraulic fracturing remains a controversial process in the UK. Environmental activists argue that this technology can contaminate underground water. Extraction of shale gas through hydraulic fracturing was banned in France.