LONDON, March 9 French energy company Engie
has sold its British shale gas interests to Swiss
petrochemicals firm Ineos for an undisclosed sum, Ineos said on
The deal means Ineos, which has invested heavily in
expanding its British shale gas portfolio, now has access to
more than 1.2 million acres of shale gas acreage, the most among
any company involved in Britain's shale gas industry.
Ineos said it is taking over Engie's entire UK onshore
exploration licence portfolio, which includes interests in 15
licences, including seven in which Ineos had a previous
Substantial amounts of shale gas are estimated to be trapped
in underground rocks and the British government says it wants to
exploit them to help offset declining North Sea oil and gas
output, create some 64,000 jobs and help economic growth.
But progress has been slow due to regulatory hurdles and
public protests, with environmental groups concerned that
fracking could contaminate groundwater and that it is
incompatible with fighting climate change.
Engie was not immediately available for comment.
Shale gas fracking firms IGas and Cuadrilla
confirmed the changes in licence ownership in which they are
(Reporting by Karolin Schaps, editing by David Evans)