Total may be on the prowl for additional shale assets. The company acquired a 25% interest in Chesapeake's Barnett properties in early 2010. The company could be CHK's most recent JV partner in the Utica, but the partner has not been publicized. Total is openly un-satisfied with its U.S. holdings and has plans to expand. An expansion in the Eagle Ford will undoubtedly have to come through acquisitions. There simply isn't enough acreage available for a company of this size ($113 Bn market cap as of Nov. 2011). Watch for the middle of the pack to get swallowed up (consolidated) by the big guys as we enter the next stage in the Eagle Ford's life cycle.
"It will be a natural progression" for Total to focus its shale expansion on liquids areas such as Texas's Eagle Ford and Ohio's Utica, Bannerman said later answering question from reporters.
Compared to the company's global portfolio, the company is not "satisfied" with the size of its assets in the U.S. shale sector and it's looking to increase its presence, said John Bannerman, president and chief executive of Total USA, who was answering questions from the audience at an energy conference in Houston.