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2014-01-13 16:38:00

TOTAL BECOMES LARGEST ENERGY PRODUCER

TOTAL BECOMES LARGEST ENERGY PRODUCER

Looking to expand shale-based oil production outside of its home country of France, where the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing drilling is banned, Total SA announced it was purchasing a 40% stake in two U.K. oil exploration areas. Total's partner IGAS Energy PLC ), which holds 14.5% of the permits to explore in the area, will be the operator of the exploration project.

The $47 million payments for exploration rights to Dart Energy Ltd make Paris-based Total SA the largest oil company to enter the U.K. fracking business, according to a report by Bloomberg. Total's stock price fell by just over 1% on the news, while Dart climbed 18%.

The move by Total SA, the largest oil producer to date to enter this market, makes clear a decision to more aggressively move into markets outside France. The Total deal is the second largest shale deal in the U.K. by a French company, following a deal by GDF Suez SA  in October to buy a stake in 13 licenses In the U.K.s Bowland Basin from Australia-based Dart. In addition to the U.K., Total is involved in several U.S.-based shale projects, as well as projects in Australia, China, Denmark and Poland.

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TOTAL BECOMES LARGEST ENERGY PRODUCER
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U.S. RIGS DOWN 1 TO 930

U.S. Rig Count is down 1 rig from last week to 930, with oil rigs down 4 to 747, gas rigs up 3 to 183, and miscellaneous rigs unchanged. Canada Rig Count is up 19 rigs from last week to 238, with oil rigs up 22 to 134 and gas rigs down 3 to 104.

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