Monday, June 7, 2010

Total Wants Shale Gas Play

By Marianne Stigset
June 4 (Bloomberg) -- Total SA, Europe’s third-largest oil producer, said falling natural gas prices hasn’t affected its plans expand in shale gas in the U.S. and Europe.
The weak market has “no influence on the unconventional gas as far as the strategy of Total goes,” Patrice de Vivies, senior vice president for exploration and production in northern Europe, said today in an interview in Hammerfest, Norway. Total, based in Paris, has an agreement with Chesapeake Energy Corp. in the U.S., a shale permit in France and will soon get one in Denmark and possibly in other parts of western Europe, he said.
Producers are tapping unconventional sources such as shale gas as reserves in easier-to-access areas dwindle. Benchmark U.S. gas prices have sunk 16 percent this year, after also declining in 2008 and 2009, as rising shale production in the U.S. and global liquefied natural gas output add to supplies.
Europe faces an oversupply of gas until 2015, according to the International Energy Agency.
De Vivies said that while gas prices may pick up “in a few years,” helped by rising demand in Asia, consumption in Europe may be stagnant. “We expect high growth from China, India and the Middle East,” he said. “In Europe, maybe we have reached a peak of consumption. Everything will depend on the use of natural gas for power generation.”
The potential for shale production is also bigger in the U.S. than in Europe, he said, adding that development there is more difficult because of “the density of population.”
He declined to comment on whether Total is in talks with Pioneer Natural Resources Co. on a venture in the Eagle Ford Shale. The Irving, Texas-based company has said it plans to make an announcement on a joint venture this quarter.
--Editor: Jonas Bergman, Raj Rajendran
To contact the reporter on this story: Marianne Stigset in Oslo at;
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at

1 comment:

CLadd said...

Total is among the large multi-nationals (ExxonMobil, Chevron, Talisman, ConocoPhillips, OMV)searching for shale gas in Europe.

Natural Gas for Europe provides updated information on developments on emerging shale gas plays in Europe.