French energy company Engie has divested its stakes in the UK shale gas exploration licenses to petrochemicals firm Ineos for an undisclosed amount.

Ineos Shale, the onshore division of Ineos Upstream, has acquired the entire UK onshore petroleum exploration and development license interests of Engie E&P UK.

The deal increases Ineos’ total acreage under license to more than 1.2 million acres.

The divestment is part of Engie’s efforts to increase its focus on energy infrastructure, including gas pipelines, and services.

Engie spokeswoman was reported by Reuters as saying: "The decision was made following ENGIE Group's strategic review notably in response to commodity price declines.”

As per the deal, Ineos acquired interests in 15 licenses, seven of which it already holds an existing interest in.

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

Of the total licenses, three are operated by Ineos, eight by IGas Energy and four by Cuadrilla.

Ineos recently announced its plan to invest £1bn into shale gas, in order to provide feedstock for its petrochemicals business.

Ineos shale CEO Gary Haywood said: "We are always going to be interested in acquiring additional acreage."

In December 2015, Ineos has completed the acquisition of natural gas assets from LetterOne Group’s subsidiary DEA Group in the UK North Sea, for around $750m.

Under the deal, Ineos new oil and gas subsidiary Ineos Upstream has acquired gas fields, including the Breagh and Clipper South fields, in the Southern North Sea.

Image: A Map showing onshore petroleum exploration and development license in the UK. Photo: courtesy of INEOS Capital Limited.