France's Total scouting for shale exploration licence in Britain -report

June 25 Tue Jun 25, 2013 4:36pm EDT

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June 25 (Reuters) - French oil major Total SA is looking to buy rights to explore shale gas in Britain, the Telegraph reported, without citing sources.

Total has held talks with several other energy companies to acquire a stake in their existing exploration blocks in the country, the report added.()

The Telegraph also said the company was in discussions with British shale gas explorer Cuadrilla Resources over buying into its licence but is now looking at other opportunities.

Total was not immediately available for comment outside regular business hours.

Britain's bid to exploit shale-gas deposits was boosted earlier this month as utility Centrica Plc, parent of British Gas, bought a quarter stake in a major gas-bearing formation in northern England, ahead of expanded drilling next year.

The country's energy ministry expects to update domestic shale gas recovery estimates by the end of July, in what is widely expected to be a major upgrade. But experts say only exploration drilling can determine the extent of recoverable deposits.

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