French oil group Total SA is paying $2.3 billion to help develop U.S. shale gas reserves in Ohio through a deal with Chesapeake Energy Corp. Total will take a 25%t stake in a joint venture covering the Utica Shale area of eastern Ohio.
Total paid $610 million to Chesapeake and $290 million to EnerVest, the other partner in the venture. Chesapeake will receive another $1.42 billion contribution to drilling and well-completion costs, expected by the end of 2014. Total, already in a joint venture with Chesapeake in the Barnett Shale area in Texas, has said it is looking to boost its position in U.S. shale basins that have crude oil or natural gas with a high liquids content, making them more valuable than dry gas.
The latest venture with Total covers about 619,000 net acres, of which 77,000 were contributed by Houston-based EnerVest, Chesapeake said.