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Total taking closer look at British shale

Feb. 15, 2013 at 7:13 AM

LONDON, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- French energy company Total sees the shale natural gas prospects in the United Kingdom are ripe for development, said Total CEO Christophe de Margerie.

The British Geological Survey in a 2010 study said the shale gas reserve potential could be as large as 5.3 trillion cubic feet.

De Margerie, chief executive officer at Total, said the company was taking a closer look at the reserve potential after the government lifted earlier bans on development.

"We see potential in the U.K., and we see an opportunity for development for Total," he was quoted by the Platts news service as saying. "We are discussing this with the relevant partners."

British Energy Secretary Ed Davey in December lifted a ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, of shale natural gas resources in light of new risk controls based on a "traffic light" system. Fracking operations were suspended after Cuadrilla Resources in 2011 reported minor tremors associated with natural gas operations in the country.

In a report this week, PricewaterhouseCoopers said shale could contribute to an increase the U.K. gross domestic product.

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