PARIS, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- French energy company Total announced it entered the shale gas market in Argentina through the acquisition of four exploration licenses.
The four shale licenses were awarded by provincial officials in a partnership with Argentina's state-owned energy company YPF.
"These new interests in acreage that is potentially rich in shale gas further strengthen Total's presence in unconventional gas, a domain in which Total has the ambition to grow significantly," said Yves-Louis Darricarrere, president of Total exploration and production, in a statement on the six year licenses.
Total entered the shale market in the United States last year when it paid $800 million to acquire assets in the Barnett shale play in Texas.
The latest acquisition in Argentina brings Total's combined shale gas acreage to around 380,000, the company said.
Drilling is expected in the Argentine play this year. Total's equity share of production in the Latin American county was around 82,700 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2010.