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France's Total Expands in Texas — WSJ

PARIS -- French oil major Total SA is taking full control of the Barnett Shale oil-and-gas leases in Texas that it shared with joint-venture partner Chesapeake Energy Corp., after the U.S. shale producer decided to exit the once- prolific gas field to shore up its finances.

Total said on Friday it is exercising rights to acquire a 75% share in the Barnett Shale assets to become the sole owner and operator of 215,000 partially developed acres of the field near Fort Worth in North Texas.

The move follows Chesapeake's agreement last month to pay $334 million to Williams Partners LP to get out of its pipeline contract with the pipeline operator in the Barnett Shale formation. At the time, Chesapeake said it was transferring its interests in the fields to Saddle Barnett Resources LLC, a private equity-backed company based in Dallas.

Total, which is pre-empting Saddle's deal, said its U.S. exploration and production unit will add $420 million to what...


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