Total is to increase its interest in the UK’s shale gas potential after agreeing to pay up to £15million for another project.

The French oil giant has struck an opt-in deal with Egdon Resources for a further licence in Lincolnshire.

The deal will give Total the option to farm into the site, which sits next to two previously agreed licences in the Gainsborough Trough basin, before the end of 2015.

It comes after Total became the first international major to invest in the UK’s fracking operations since the announcement of the government’s shale roadmap last year.

The French firm will pay £1.5million for the option, and will take on the £13.5million exploration and drilling costs for the site if they farm into the project.

“Total has extensive resources and worldwide experience in unconventional hydrocarbon plays and we look forward to working with them in the adjacent PEDL139/140 licences and in due course in PEDL209,” said Egdon managing director Mark Abbott.