LONDON – Total SA has bought a 40% stake in two shale-gas exploration licenses for the U.K., the first sign of interest from an energy major in British reserves. The move by the French oil company, announced Monday, is worth just under $50 million, sources told The Wall Street Journal. While small, the investment is a sign of confidence in prospects for shale gas in the U.K., which has seen some pilot projects disrupted by local and environmental protests. Total's partners in the shale-gas exploration include Dart Energy Ltd. and Egdon Resources . Shares in Total were down 0.2% on Monday morning.
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