GDF Suez, Dart Energy to increase U.K. shale exploration

France's GDF Suez (GDFZY, GDSZF) teams with Australia's Dart Energy (DEGEF) to develop 13 licenses for shale gas exploration in the U.K.'s Bowland Basin, an area which already has attracted investment from British Gas parent Centrica (CPYYF, CPYYY).

GDF will acquire a 25% working interest in the blocks, with Dart retaining operatorship and a 75% stake.

A three-year exploration and appraisal program is expected to include the drilling of up to four shale gas exploration wells in different areas of Bowland, plus 10 coalbed methane exploration wells.

The deal provides a boost to Britain's bid to exploit shale gas deposits after the government unveiled incentives earlier this year to drive investment in the sector.

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