French energy giant Total earlier this week said it was halting further investments in American shale plays including Ohio's Utica shale, the Marcellus Drilling News reported.


The reason is the low prices for natural gas in hte United States.


Total had purchased a 25 percent investment from Chesapeake Energy Corp. in 10 counties in eastern Ohio for $2.3 billion.


It later purchased a 90 percent stake in 9,000 leases in Columbiana County for an additional $2 billion, says the Marcellus Drilling News.


It has joint ventures in Texas, too.


Total said it intends to focus on shale development in Argentina and China.