IGas Plans Third UK Shale Gas Drill Next Month


LONDON, Oct 9 (Reuters) – Britain's largest shale gas explorer IGas plans to drill its third well next month, in the northwest of England, to establish how much gas is trapped below the ground.

Britain is counting on rising shale gas extraction to help dampen its growing dependence on gas imports, but development has been slow due to tight regulation and a series of local protests.

IGas, which is in the final stages of taking over rival Dart Energy, expects to publish estimates of how much shale gas its East Midlands acreage holds and first test results from its Barton Moss well after Oct. 28.

The market will likely welcome operational news from IGas. Analysts at Jefferies say such details have been lacking and this has weighed on the company's share price.

Shares in IGas were trading 1 percent higher at 78.9 pence at 0717 GMT.

The shale gas company also said on Thursday it had teamed up with a number of partners to submit bids for various new shale gas licences in Britain's ongoing tender, which closes at the end of the month.

IGas has already partnered with French oil major Total which earlier this year bought a stake in two IGas shale licences.

IGas, which also produces oil from onshore fields, said its oil output rose 2 percent over the first half of its financial year and it sold crude at an average of $65 per barrel.

It added it was in advanced stages of negotiations to sell its gas, details of which will be announced in its interim results on Nov. 26.

(Reporting by Karolin Schaps; Editing by Mark Potter and Vincent Baby)


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