(Reuters) – Britain’s largest shale gas developer IGas has signed a 30 million pound ($45 million) shale gas deal with Switzerland’s Ineos which gives the latter access to shale sites outside of Scotland and brings IGas another partner to fund its projects.
As well as a 30 million payment, Ineos has committed to covering investments of 138 million pounds for developing various shale gas fields across the England, giving IGas access to additional cash to bring shale gas wells on stream.
The British government is counting on companies tapping the country’s shale gas resources to stem its growing dependence on gas imports as North Sea fields are producing less and less.
IGas has already signed so-called farm-out deals with French energy firms Total and GDF Suez, bringing the total investments gained from partners to $285 million.
“INEOS’s commitment of upfront cash and considerable capital investment will help fund us through the next steps of our shale appraisal and production programme,” said IGas chief executive Andrew Austin in a statement.
Ineos, a Swiss petrochemical and refining company, said last year it planned to invest $1 billion in British shale gas exploration. It currently has acreage in Scotland.
($1 = 0.6627 pounds)
(Reporting by Karolin Schaps; Editing by Mark Potter)