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UK-based IGas has agreed to buyout rival Dart Energy in an all-share deal valued at $198.35 million.

This merger will create Britain’s largest shale gas explorer just week ahead of the launch of a major licensing round.

The deal is subject to board and regulator approvals but expected to conclude in September.

Upon completion, Dart shareholders take a 30.5 percent stake in the new IGas company.

IGas CEO Andrew Austin said, “The transaction further strengthens our position financially, operationally and also significantly increases our licensed acreage as we seek to unlock the untapped energy resource that exists in Britain.”

With the takeover, IGas gains access to over 1 million acres of licensed land in the UK, including major shale gas sites.