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The UK holds European hope for shale gas development

With exploration stalled in mainland Europe, the UK government's unconventionals push has opened a new frontier for investors and E&P companies alike

The UK has become the crucible of Europe's shale gas hopes, helped by a combination of as promising reserves estimates,  strong government support and interest from major energy companies. In January, France's Total became the first of the big six major energy companies to buy into UK shale-gas acreage, acquiring a 40% stake in two exploration licences, PEDL 139 and 140, in central England. Announcing the move, Patrice de Vivies, Total's senior vice president for Northern Europe, said the deal "opens a new chapter... in a promising onshore play". Total will team up with a number of independents to develop the licences. GP Energy, a subsidiary of Dart Energy Europe, has a 17.5% stake in the

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