* Company is deploying natural gas heavy-duty trucks
* Total to provide $100 mln support for leasing programme (Adds details, quotes, background)
By Bate Felix
PARIS, May 10 (Reuters) - Total has agreed to buy up to 50.8 million shares in Clean Energy Corp for $83.4 million, becoming its largest stockholder with a 25 percent stake, the French energy company announced on Thursday.
Total will also provide $100 million in credit support for Clean Energy's plan to launch a leasing programme to place thousands of new natural gas heavy-duty trucks on North American roads by the third quarter of this year.
Clean Energy provides natural gas fuel and renewable natural gas fuel for transportation in North America with a network of over 550 stations.
"Total believes there is a strong development opportunity in the natural gas for transportation market in particular in the United States which benefits from unique, giant low-cost gas resources," Total Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne said in a statement.
The deal is in line with Total's strategy to expand its low carbon businesses and develop new markets for gas, it said.
Reporting by Bate Felix; editing by Richard Lough and Jason Neely