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Mon Jan 9, 2012, 08:09 PM

Drill babysahn Drill!

Japanese company buys stake in Hunt Oil's Eagle Ford shale holdings

Marubeni Corp., Japan's biggest grain-trading company, agreed to buy a 35 percent stake in Hunt Oil's Eagle Ford shale holdings in a $1.3 billion deal that includes future drilling costs.

The Tokyo-based company will acquire 52,000 net acres , it said in a statement today. Maurbeni and Dallas-based Hunt plan to drill "several hundred" wells in the area over the next five to 10 years, according to the statement.

Marubeni becomes the latest foreign company to invest in U.S. shale fields. European and Asian energy producers are piling into North American shale, which the Energy Information Administration estimates can more than double the world's gas reserves. Total SA and China Petrochemical Corp. have committed more than $7 billion in the past month to U.S. and Canadian projects, overlooking concern that the drilling, which fractures underground rocks with sand and chemicals, may cause earthquakes and contaminate drinking water.

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