French oil group Total said it is taking a 25% stake in shale-gas fields in Ohio for a total investment of $2.3 billion.
Total said its U.S. subsidiary is entering into a joint venture with a subsidiary of Chesapeake Energy Corp. and its partner EnerVest that hold rights to 619,000 acres.
Total said it paid roughly $700 million in cash to acquire the fields, and committed to cover up to $1.63 billion in drilling and well-completion investments over six years.
"This joint venture will provide us with a material position in a valuable long-term resource base under attractive terms and with a top-class operator," Total said in a statement.
The 13 wells drilled to date have shown promising results, Total said, and that drilling is to be ramped up over the next few years with 25 rigs to be completed by 2014 to better evaluate the field.
By the end of the decade, Total said it expects its share of production from the fields to reach 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011