Total plans asset sell-off worth up to $20bn

by on September 25, 2012 10:34 am GMT

Speaking to journalists at a London briefing, chief financial officer Patrick de la Chevardiere said the divestments would come from all across the company and would include fields where Total has small stakes.

The Paris-headquartered explorer also added 0.5 percentage points to its growth target for 2011-2015, aiming to raise annual average production by 3%, Dow Jones Newswires and Agence France Presse reported.

The new target is based on projects that are either already in production or under development.

If maintained, the growth would take production up to 3 million barrels of oil equivalent a day by 2017, the company said.

“We’re confident of the 3% and the 3 million barrels a day,” de la Chevardiere said.

Total said that 70% of the projects needed to achieve output of 3 million were already producing or were being developed.

The group has been set back by a series of incidents which has curbed output this year, particularly a leak which disrupted gas production from the Elgin field in the North Sea as well as a leak at a well in Nigeria and repeated sabotage of its Balhaf pipeline in Yemen.

Total said it hoped that production from Elgin, shut down since March, would be able to resume by the end of the year.

“We are working towards a gradual restart of the production prior the end of year, but at the end of the day, it’s up to the UK authorities to decide,” Chevardiere said.

Total described the Elgin incident as the biggest in the North Sea for at least 10 years and put the cost of the leak at $300 to $400 million.

Asked about relations with Baghdad – which has taken issue with the company’s activities in Iraqi Kurdistan – de la Chevardiere said “it would not be too serious” if Baghdad told Total to shut down operations in the south of the country because conditions for working there were not very attractive.