French President Francois Holland attended a signing ceremony where GDF Suez agreed with French engineering company Alstom to develop a pilot project for marine energy.
"This agreement is part of the strategy of GDF Suez to bring together all interests in a position to participate in the creation of a new French industrial sector," the company said in a statement Monday.
GDF Suez said it would work with Alstom to outfit pilot energy projects at a facility at Raz Blanchard, off the northwest coast of France.
The French energy company said its work would lay the groundwork for a marine energy sector in France. It said it plans to commission the first of its tidal energy machines by 2016.
GDF Suez said it would become a "front-line player" in the marine energy sector through its relationship with Alstom.