COURBEVOIE, France, April 1 (UPI) -- French supermajor Total announced it was awarded a permit to exploit shale gas in a 1,670 square-mile area in the south of France.
Total received a five-year permit to explore shale gas deposits locked in a region that spans from Valence to the region of Montpellier.
Yves-Louis Darricarrere, president of exploration and production for Total, said the permit would give his company the opportunity to confirm the presence of shale gas in the area.
"Should the first geological activities be promising, exploration wells will be drilled in order to evaluate this potential," the executive added.
Total acquired its 100 percent working interest in the French project through a 2009 transaction with U.S. company Devon, which opted to focus on North American developments. That transaction is subject to ministerial approval in France.
"With this new permit, and further to the acquisition of a 25 percent interest in (U.S. shale explorer) Chesapeake's permit in the Barnett Shale play in the United States at the end of 2009, Total confirms its willingness to develop its activities in non-conventional gas," the French company said.