Total Keeps Eye on the Prize

This week Total announced their intent to focus on U.S. shale basins, specifically those that are thought to have crude oil or natural gas with high liquids content.

Crude oil and natural gas liquids currently bring much higher prices than dry gas, so Total is focusing its efforts on basins that produce those resources.

"We're very clearly on the lookout," John Bannerman, chief executive officer of Total E&P USA, told the World Shale Gas conference in Houston.

Total currently has a joint venture with Chesapeake Energy in the Barnett Shale and will examine all of its options for a deal, Bannerman said.

Considering that the French government last month canceled all three exploration permits on shale-gas fields after Total SA and (U.S.based) Schuepbach Energy LLC—which held the rights to those permits —maintained their intention to drill the potential fields using hydraulic fracturing, in makes perfect sense that Total would turn back to the U.S. to move forward.

One would hope that if Total continues to find success in U.S. plays their own mother country might consider letting them share the wealth with their fellow countryman.