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Total Will Start Shale Drilling in Denmark This Year, CEO Says

Total SA, Europe’s third-biggest oil company, expects to start exploratory drilling in Denmark later this year as part of a push to develop shale energy projects outside the U.S.

The Paris-based company is also investing in Poland and China, Chief Executive Officer Christophe de Margerie said in an interview published in Le Monde newspaper. Sandre Dante, a spokeswoman for Total, confirmed his comments.

Total has “slowed” investment in shale gas projects in Texas because prices have dropped below the cost of production, he was quoted as saying. It continues to invest in developing shale projects in areas like Ohio that are condensate-rich and more profitable.

Total in October wrote down the value of its Barnett shale assets in the U.S. The impairment followed a combined $3 billion of writedowns from BG Group Plc and Encana Corp. on the value of their gas properties in North America. The price adjustments came amid a glut in supplies from booming shale production.

Total has a venture with Chesapeake Energy Corp. to produce natural gas in the U.S., both in the Barnett shale in Texas and the liquids-rich Utica shale play in Ohio.

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