PARIS, June 26 French oil major Total
would like to explore shale gas in Britain but is not currently
in talks to acquire stakes in exploration blocks, a company
spokesman said on Wednesday.
Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper reported on Tuesday
Total had held talks with several other energy firms to acquire
a stake in their existing exploration blocks in the UK.
"Total is interested in shale gas in the United Kingdom, but
we are in a phase where we're are thinking about it, we are not
in talks, we are awaiting the bidding rounds," the spokesman
"There are several interesting areas for shale gas
development and we continue to study carefully the potential of
each to allow ourselves to be well prepared, in particular in
the context of the upcoming onshore round," the spokesman added.
Britain's bid to exploit shale gas deposits was boosted
this month when 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 UK 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.
Total has already signed shale gas exploration deals in
countries such as Poland, Australia, China, Argentina and the