GDF Suez Buys U.K. Shale Assets in Bowland Area From Dart

GDF Suez SA (GSZ), France’s biggest supplier of natural gas, became the second utility to buy into U.K. shale with the purchase of assets from Dart Energy Ltd. (DTE)

GDF will acquire a 25 percent interest in 13 licenses in northern England’s Bowland basin, Dart said today in a statement. GDF will hand over $12 million in cash and cover 75 percent of the Australian company’s costs up to $27 million to fund a three-year exploration campaign, the statement shows.

The Bowland basin, potentially holding about 1,300 trillion cubic feet of gas, has already lured U.K. utility Centrica Plc (CNA), which bought a stake in Cuadrilla Resources Ltd.’s acreage in June. Paris-based GDF Suez faces a government ban on hydraulic fracturing in its home country, while British Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged tax breaks to shale drillers.

“We are very confident about the potential of shale gas in the U.K. and its anticipated contributions to U.K. energy security,” said Jean-Marie Dauger, head of GDF Suez’s gas business. The investment “complements the large presence of the group in the U.K.”

The deal will support the drilling of as many as 14 exploration wells -- four targeting shale gas and 10 coal-bed methane, Dart said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Swint in London at bswint@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

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