Deal gives France access to Texas gas fields

The race for the country's natural gas grew more crowded Monday with the announcement that France’s Total SA would spend $2.25 billion to gain new access to deep fields in Texas.

Total’s deal with Chesapeake Energy Corp. comes just three weeks after Exxon Mobil Corp. said it will buy XTO Energy Inc., another prolific natural gas company, in a $31 billion deal. Estimates of total U.S. gas reserves have risen sharply in the past two years, thanks to improvements in technology developed in the U.S.