INEOS Shale, the onshore division of INEOS Upstream, has completed the acquisition of the entire UK onshore petroleum exploration and development license interests of ENGIE E&P UK Limited.

The deal, which involves minority interests in 15 licenses (seven of which INEOS holds an existing interest in), increases the total acreage held by INEOS under license to more than 1.2 million acres.

The remaining eight are said to complement the company’s existing license interests in Yorkshire, Cheshire and the East Midlands.

From the 15 licenses, three are operated by INEOS, eight by IGas Energy and four by Cuadrilla.

When asked if the company had plans to purchase more acreage in the near future, an INEOS representative suggested it was a possibility.

“INEOS is always looking for potential investments to continue growing business,” the representative told Rigzone.

Last month, INEOS Shale stated that it will not drill any of its prospects if it cannot prove that its drilling and aftercare operations will be safe.

In addition to gathering geological information through 2D and 3D imaging technology, the company is now also planning to carry out some exploration drilling, known as coring wells, which will provide detailed information about rocks below the surface.

INEOS has championed the benefits of a local shale gas sector, claiming such an industry would be good for energy security, addressing climate change and job security.

The energy firm revealed that a local shale sector could provide as many as 64,000 new jobs.