Market Report: The Total fracking deal shows a way forward for the small developers here

  • @LauraHChesters

UK fracking experts shot up yesterday when French energy giant Total revealed a 40 per cent holding in two exploration licences in Lincolnshire.

UK-listed partners in the licences – Egdon Resources and IGas Energy – jumped 5p – or 53.3 per cent – to 14.75p and 19p – or 17.6 per cent – to 126.75p respectively on the news.

The deal is regarded as significant for the entire UK shale industry.

Experts at Liberum Capital said: "This deal is the first move by an oil major into the UK's prospective shale-gas industry following Centrica's deal last year.

"The Total deal shows a possible way forward for the small, independent developers here."

The share-price reaction was in contrast to utility and oil stocks which were in the doldrums on a lacklustre day of trading.

Energy firms SSE (down 20p to 1,344p) and Centrica (down 4.3p to 326.2p) were some of the worst fallers on the main index with oil giants weak due to poor crude-oil prices ahead of the lifting of sanctions against Iran. Stocks across the utilities, oil and gas sector took more than 4.3 points off the FTSE 100. But the wider market remained in positive territory as traders could find nothing to worry about. The FTSE 100 was 17.21 points better at 6,757.15.

Banks pushed the index higher after news of an easing of Basel rules on debt. The change to the leverage ratio rules will mean many banks will not need to raise as much capital and Barclays soared 8.1p to 291.7p, Royal Bank of Scotland gained 11.1p to 368p and Lloyds Banking Group edged up 0.99p to 84.03p.

Reports at the weekend that struggling grocer Morrisons is planning to sell-off some of its freehold property to raise millions after rumoured pressure from an activist investor helped it advance 15.2p to 251.3p.

Aim-listed medical group Omega Diagnostics was the subject of speculation after a chunk of shares were bought last week. The group, which makes testing kits for allergies and infectious diseases, was rumoured to be a candidate for investment from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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