Total To Look For Shale Gas In France

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Total, Europe's third-largest oil company, said it wants to explore for shale gas in its home country of France. France is looking to reduce its reliance on foreign gas sources. France, which in the 1970s produced one-third of its gas consumption, imported 98 percent of the gas it consumed in 2009, according to Reuters.

Perhaps in an effort to assuage vocal environmental groups in France, Total (TOT) pledged not to use hydraulic fracturing, also known as ''fracking'' as a means of extracting shale gas in France.

Total has partnered with Exxon Mobil (TOT), the largest U.S. oil company, to tap shale reserves in Poland. Like France, Poland is looking to domestic energy exploration in an effort to lower its imports of natural gas.

In France, Total will explore an area for which it won a five-year exploration license last year. The company also has has two exploration permits for shale gas in Denmark and six in Argentina, Reuters reported.