UPDATE 1-Total buys 50 pct stake in AMSO to sell shale oil

*Total buys 50 percent stake in American Shale Oil

*Transaction seen closing during Q1

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PARIS, Jan 14 (Reuters) - French oil company Total TOTF.PA has bought a 50 percent stake in American Shale Oil, LLC (AMSO) from holding company IDT Corporation IDTc.N for an undisclosed amount to jointly to make and sell shale oil.

Total and IDT will jointly use a new technology on AMSO`s federal leasehold in western Colorado, with Total providing most of the funding during the research and development phase of the project as well as technical assistance, Total said.

AMSO is one of three holders of 10-year leases granted by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to assess, test and demonstrate the potential for commercial shale oil production in western Colorado.

The transaction is expected to close during the first quarter of this year.

“Given the magnitude of oil shale resources we believe that this project has an important long-term potential for global energy markets,” Total said in a statement.

A Total spokesman had no immediate comment on financial details.