UPDATE 3-Total in $2.3 bln U.S. shale gas deal

Tue Jan 3, 2012 1:53pm GMT

* Chesapeake to receive $2.03 bln, EnerVest $290 mln

* Deal already announced in Nov covers 619,000 net acres

* Total's aim to develop unconventional assets with big potential

* Total shares little changed

By James Regan and Caroline Jacobs

PARIS, Jan 3 (Reuters) - French oil group Total SA is ploughing $2.3 billion into the development of U.S. shale gas reserves in Ohio in the latest example of global energy companies piling into new energy sources made economic by the high price of crude.

In a deal with Chesapeake Energy Corp, which the U.S. group announced in November without identifying its partners, Total will take a 25 percent stake in a joint venture covering the Utica Shale area of eastern Ohio.

North America has seen a boom in investment in energy resources such as shale gas in recent years, raising the prospect of the United States reducing its dependence on imported energy.

Under the terms of the deal, Total paid $610 million to Chesapeake and $290 million to a U.S.-based group called 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, it said.   Continued...

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