Total News - 2009
News summaries from
company press releases and from unaffiliated news agencies are provided below. The summaries are sorted by month and are further categorized as upstream news, downstream news, and business/finance news.
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• Upstream news:
- Total, the fifth largest international integrated oil and gas company, and IDT Corporation announced that Total will acquire a 50% stake in IDT’s American Shale Oil, LLC (AMSO) subsidiary. Under the terms of the agreement, Total and IDT will jointly develop a research and demonstration program to produce and commercialize shale oil utilizing a new in-situ technology on AMSO’s federal leasehold in western Colorado. Total will provide a majority of the funding during the research, development and demonstration (RD&D) phase of the project, and technical assistance throughout the life of the project. AMSO will continue to manage operations during the RD&D phase of the project. Total will assume management responsibilities during the subsequent commercial phase. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close during the first quarter of this year.
- Total announces that its subsidiary Total E&P Canada Ltd is launching a public offer to acquire all the issued and outstanding shares of UTS Energy Corporation (UTS), a company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, at a price of Can$ 1.3 per share, or a total amount of close to Can$ 617 million (about 380 million €). This offer is a 100% cash offer and represents a premium of approximately 57% over the closing price of UTS’s shares on January 27, 2009 and approximately 51% over the weighted average trading price for the last 30 days. The take-over bid circular will be published in the coming days, and the offer is expected to be open for acceptance from that date for a period of at least 60 days, subject to the date of receipt of the regulatory approval required from the Canadian authorities and to the acceptance of the offer by UTS’s shareholders representing at least 66.67% of the shares on a fully-diluted basis. UTS’s main asset is a 20% stake in the Fort Hills Project, located in the Athabasca region, in Alberta, at approximately 100 kilometres northeast of Fort McMurray. Petro-Canada, a Canadian company, is the operator of this project with a 60% stake, the remaining 20% stake being held by Teck Cominco. The latest estimate of the Fort Hills Project’s resources is about 4 billion barrels of bitumen; these resources will be recovered using mining technologies. This project is expected to be developed in two phases of about 160,000 barrels of bitumen each, and the first phase has received the main approvals needed for its launch. The project is being re-evaluated by the partners since October 2008, in order to optimize its costs and timing. Depending on the results of the technical studies, the final investment decision for Phase One should be made by 2010 and production could start in 2013.
• Downstream news:
- Total and Renault, who have maintained a long-standing partnership of more than 40 years through the Elf brand, renewed their cooperation agreements in the areas of: research & development; marketing, with Renault exclusively recommending Total’s Elf-branded lubricants at its dealerships worldwide; motor racing, with Renault Sport Technologies.
- Total Petrochemicals announces the start-up of a revamped world-class styrene unit at its petrochemicals facility in Gonfreville-l’Orcher, near Le Havre, France. With capacity expanded by 210,000 metric tons per year, the 600,000-metric-ton-per year unit will be one of the largest in Europe, delivering superior performance, especially in terms of energy efficiency. The unit’s start-up is part of the industrial restructuration project launched by Total Petrochemicals in France in spring 2007 to safeguard its competitiveness in light of the expected economic challenges. Central to this plan, Total Petrochemicals’ styrene business in Europe has been rescaled and consolidated at the Gonfreville complex, resulting in the shutdown of the Carling unit, in France. This reduced overall styrene production capacity by 120,000 metric tons per year.
• Business/Finance news:
- Bertrand Deroubaix, who succeeded Alain Grémillet as General Secretary of Total Refining & Marketing on November 1, 2008, was appointed to the Corporate Management Committee.
- Marc Blaizot, who succeeded Jean-Marie Masset as Senior Vice President, Geosciences at Total Exploration & Production in December 2008, was appointed to the Corporate Management Committee on January 2, 2009.
• Upstream news:
- Total announces the signature of a MOU with Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) converting the existing Petroleum Contracts covering the Blocks C17 and C137, operated by its subsidiary Mabruk Oil Operations, to EPSA IV format. The blocks are respectively located in the onshore Sirte Basin and the offshore Sabratha Basin around 100 kilometres from the Libyan coast. Total has a 75% working interest of the Second Party* share in each block, with StatoilHydro holding the remaining 25% of Block C17 and Wintershall the remaining 25% of Block C137. Total takes the opportunity to reinvigorate its investment policy in Libya and positions itself as a strategic and privileged partner over the long term. In addition to production from the offshore Al Jurf field in Block C137 and from the Mabruk field in Block C17 in the Sirte Basin, Total operates a number of other exploration licenses in Libya.
- Total announces that it has signed an agreement with the authorities to extend the Aguada Pichana and San Roque concessions, located in Neuquén province in northwestern Patagonia, for a further ten years, from 2017 to 2027. Total operates both concessions, with a 27.3% interest in Aguada Pichana and a 24.7% interest in San Roque. Thanks to continuous exploration operations, tying in satellite discoveries and gradually ramping up compressor capacity, plateau production was maintained at 870 million cubic feet per day of natural gas and 10,700 barrels per day of liquids in 2008. The ten-year extension will enable Total Austral, the Group’s subsidiary in Argentina, to continue its oil and gas exploration, development and production operations over the long term in the Neuquén Basin.
- Total announces that it has signed an agreement with Azerbaijan’s state-owned SOCAR. The exploration, development and production sharing agreement (EDPSA) covers a license on the Absheron offshore block. This block is located in the Caspian Sea, 100 kilometers from Baku, in a water depth of around 500 meters. Total will be the operator of the Absheron Block during the exploration phase. For the development phase, Total and SOCAR will jointly form an operating company for the management of operations. Total will hold a 60% interest and SOCAR will hold a 40% interest. This latest exploration contract will strengthen Total’s ties with the Republic of Azerbaijan. The company will continue to support the development of Azerbaijan’s oil and gas industry over the long term.
• Downstream news:
- Total announces that together with PT PERTAMINA (Persero) and INPEX Corporation, it has signed a Heads of Agreement with a consortium of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) buyers in Japan, setting out the principal terms for an extension of the so-called 1973 and 1981 LNG sales contracts. The consortium includes Kansai Electric, Chubu Electric, Osaka Gas, Toho Gas, Kyushu Electric and Nippon Steel. Under these extensions, a total of 25 million metric tons of LNG will be delivered to Japan between 2011 and 2020, from the Bontang LNG Plant in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. The total quantity of natural gas in support of the contract extensions will be supplied from the Offshore Mahakam PSC (Production Sharing Contract), operated by Total in partnership with INPEX Corporation and under the authority of BPMIGAS acting on behalf of the Government of Indonesia. These new sales contracts give Indonesia and Total the necessary visibility for long term operations in the Mahakam PSC.
• Business/Finance news:
- At its meeting on February 11, 2009, the Board of Directors of TOTAL, chaired by Thierry Desmarest, reviewed the Group’s accounts for the fourth quarter 2008, and approved the annual consolidated accounts and the parent company accounts for 2008. The Board also proposed the dividend to be submitted to the annual shareholders meeting on May 15, 2009.
- It's been a tough first year for Martin Deffontaines in this arid, impoverished and secluded country on the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula. Since moving here 13 months ago as the local manager for Total, the French oil giant, Mr. Deffontaines has seen his main export pipeline damaged by terrorists, endured devastating flash floods and sent expatriate families back home because of security concerns. Despite these challenges, Mr. Deffontaines, a lanky, 43-year-old Parisian, doesn’t appear overly anxious. Indeed, Yemen is a showcase for Total, whose experience here shows how far an oil company will go these days to unearth new energy supplies. Because of the endlessly complicated interplay of geology and geopolitics, access to petroleum resources is increasingly constrained, costs have soared and energy projects are becoming more complex. Add the recent, dizzying collapse in oil prices to that picture, and you have a raft of companies rethinking their investments and scurrying to cut costs. So Mr. Deffontaines was philosophical, and a little amused, when he recounted some of the challenges the company had faced here, like negotiating with tribal leaders and sending actors to remote villages to stage a play about the hazards of gas pipelines. In meetings with government officials to thrash out problems, participants typically chew khat, a mildly narcotic plant that is widely consumed in Yemen but banned in many places around the world. This is a country where tribes are often better armed than government troops, where piracy runs rampant along the coastline, and where many trappings of modern life are absent. The risks are so pervasive that Total employees can’t travel around town without an escort and are not allowed to leave Sana, the Yemeni capital, on their own. A wave of attacks linked to Al Qaeda occurred last year, including suicide bombings at the United States Embassy in September that left almost 20 dead, 6 of them attackers. But Total has still gained a strong foothold here. It will soon start shipping liquefied natural gas from the Gulf of Aden, completing a $4 billion project begun less than four years ago. Those shipments will make Yemen the newest member of the world’s small club of gas exporters — and earn the government as much as $50 billion in tax revenue over the next 25 years. “If we can build this here, we can do it anywhere,” says Stéphane Venes, a construction manager at Total’s natural gas plant in Balhaf, a coastal town. Building the plant required about 10,000 workers, a monumental endeavor in such an isolated place. It also meant building a 210-mile pipeline that had to snake through 22 different tribal lands and one of the world’s most unforgiving deserts. Such “audace” is precisely what Christophe de Margerie, Total’s chief executive, says he would like to instill throughout his company. “I make a big distinction between being risky and being bold,” says Mr. de Margerie, 57, in an interview at Total’s headquarters in La Défense, the business district on the outskirts of Paris. “If you’re in a desert without water, that’s not bold, that’s dumb,” he says. “If you storm out of the trenches with your sword drawn while machine guns fire at you, it’s not bold, it’s dumb. Times have changed.” Total doesn’t have much choice but to charge ahead. Although it managed for years to expand its hydrocarbon production — even as larger rivals like Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell struggled to keep output from falling — that run ended last year when it reported a production drop. Like its competitors, Total now faces one of the sharpest downturns in the history of the oil business, with consumption collapsing and oil prices shedding 73 percent of their value since peaking in July. At the same time, public opinion is sharply divided about oil companies themselves as environmental concerns take an increasingly important place in debates about the future of the energy business. With no domestic production but deep roots in the Middle East and Africa, Total — as well as its longtime domestic rival Elf Aquitaine, which it acquired in 2000 — has always been forced to blaze or bully its way through faraway lands. It has struck deals in countries where few wished to do business, like Sudan and Myanmar, or sailed against the tide when it saw lucrative opportunities, as it did in Iran in the 1990s. Such forays have come with complications: in separate investigations, French judges have been examining Total’s role in the United Nations oil-for-food program in Iraq, and whether it made secret payments to enter the Iranian market. Total’s appetite for risk has also turned it into the top-ranked Western oil company in Africa, and the second-largest in the Middle East, after Exxon. Total pumps an average of 2.3 million barrels of oil and gas a day, and it earned more than $15 billion last year. While the company has operations throughout the Middle East, some of its biggest bets in the region have not yet paid off. During the 1990s, Total negotiated with the government of Saddam Hussein and laid the groundwork to eventually develop Iraqi oil fields. But now, some Iraqi officials prefer American companies to European ones and view Total with suspicion because of this past. In Iran, a political confrontation with the West has forced a reluctant Total to walk away — at least for now — from a multibillion-dollar investment to develop a huge natural gas field there. Total still has its eyes on other targets. It’s aggressively developing assets around the world, whether in Angola’s deep offshore sites, the Sahara in Libya or the forests of Venezuela. And it has decided that part of its future lies in developing expertise in nuclear energy. “They are very good at capturing deals,” says J. Robinson West, the chairman of PFC Energy, a consulting firm based in Washington that counts Total as a client. “They are also prepared to ride through storms where American companies aren’t. And they are more commercial and agile than others.” NESTLED at the foot of the Pyrenees near the Basque country in southwestern France, the town of Pau is home to Total’s global research center and a communication hub linking its global operations. Teams from around the world send core samples from wells — which the French call “carottes” — for analysis there. Lab workers use magnetic imaging technology, also employed in the medical industry, to look for traces of oil in the samples. The center is home to one of the world’s most powerful computers, which can crunch billions of bits of seismic information and provide invaluable clues as to where oil deposits are hidden. Geologists analyzing that data can then consult with drill sites thousands of miles away, using technology that links the research center to platforms around the world. Total spends about $1 billion on research annually to find better ways to discover, squeeze or refine oil and gas. Technological advantages are becoming crucial in the race for petroleum resources. The world’s easy oil reserves have mostly been found, forcing companies to drill at ever-greater depths — sometimes exceeding 30,000 feet — and to look for hydrocarbons in remote places, like the Arctic. “I don’t think we should be alarmed about reserves’ running out,” says Manoelle Lepoutre, Total’s vice president for research and development. “The potential is there. Engineers know how to extract resources. It’s not a question of resources, but more of production capacity.” Yet there are increasing limits to oil exploration, which are worrying both engineers and energy experts. At a conference in London two years ago, Mr. de Margerie shook up his colleagues and challenged the industry’s consensus when he warned that the world would not be able to pump enough oil to meet energy demands in coming decades. At the time, most energy forecasters, including those at the Department of Energy in the United States, expected that supplies would rise above 120 million barrels a day by 2030, up from around 85 million barrels. But in Mr. de Margerie’s estimation, world production will struggle to rise to 95 million barrels a day, mostly because of geopolitical constraints but also because oil fields produce less and less as they mature. “In a wine cellar, you know exactly how much wine you have,” says Jean-Jacques Mosconi, Total’s director of strategy. “For oil, it’s different. You only know your final reserves once you run out.” More recently, Total has warned that a “major oil supply crisis” will emerge if oil prices remain at today’s lower levels and companies cut their investments. Of course, Total has long been accustomed to provoking the status quo. After buying Petrofina of Belgium in 1999, Total surprised the French establishment when it started a hostile takeover bid for Elf. Total prevailed after a corporate battle by paying about $50 billion for the company, which was nearly twice its size. Overnight, the hard-fought merger propelled Total into the small club of “super majors,” pitting it against much larger American corporations. Total recently outplayed its rivals when it grabbed a piece of a huge offshore natural gas field in Russia, beating out Chevron and ConocoPhillips to snare 25 percent of the project. The field, Shtokman, in the Barents Sea, about 350 miles northeast of Murmansk, will cost $20 billion to $25 billion to develop. It is likely to be one of the biggest energy projects of the next decade. While that deal was a success, the company suffered a setback more recently in Saudi Arabia’s treacherous Rub al-Khali desert, where the kingdom in 2001 had taken the rare step of allowing foreign investors to look for natural gas. The new policy initially generated great enthusiasm among Total and other foreign oil companies, which saw it as the kingdom’s first step toward reopening its oil sector after nationalizing Aramco in the early 1980s. But the excitement quickly waned after the Saudis imposed strict limits on foreign partners, including mandates that all oil discoveries belonged solely to the kingdom and that all gas found there had to be sold on the Saudi market at a cut rate. Total left Rub al-Khali early last year, after its program there ran far over its budget and its teams drilled three wells that came up dry. Shell, another shareholder in the venture, has decided to stick with the project. No hard feelings, however. After Total left Rub al-Khali, Aramco renewed its commitment to build a new refinery with the French company in the Persian Gulf port town of Jubayl, said Michel Bénézit, Total’s president for refining and marketing. The refinery is expected to be completed by around 2013. In a conference room at Total’s headquarters, Mr. de Margerie lingered with a visitor recently, joking, stretching his schedule after an already long day and straining the nerves of his assistants, who complain that the boss is always late. A few years ago, after arriving nearly two hours late for a meeting with Qatar’s oil minister, Abdullah al-Attiyah, Mr. de Margerie fell to one knee to apologize for his tardiness. Such bonhomie has endeared him to colleagues, clients and analysts since his days as Total’s chief for the Middle East in the 1990s. But it also made him an unlikely choice to replace Thierry Desmarest as C.E.O. two years ago. Mr. Desmarest, who was seen as cold and reserved, is nonetheless widely credited for the success of the merger with Elf, and he remains the company’s chairman. Mr. de Margerie is neither an engineer nor a geologist. He joined Total in 1974, just after graduating from the École Supérieure de Commerce in Paris, a business school, and picked oil over diplomacy or a career running the family business. His grandfather, Pierre Taittinger, founded the Champagne company that bears his name. Mr. de Margerie’s family also once owned the Crillon hotel in Paris and Baccarat, the maker of crystal and jewelry. A gregarious talker with a taste for fine whiskey, Mr. de Margerie can be alternately humorous, rambling or serious and single-minded. He is a bon vivant who enjoys long lunches, preferably with a good bottle of wine and pleasant company. His bushy, starburst mustache, which The Economist magazine once said “would look right at home on the face of a British cavalry officer,” earned him the nickname “Big Mustache” in the French press. He also used to have a Kazakh Army hat on hand, which he would wear when he wanted to scold his assistants. (“It was a joke,” he cautions.) Now he keeps nearby a graceful Indonesian figurine from the island of Java to “keep evil people at bay.” It was given to him by an employee after he was investigated on suspicion of corruption two years ago. The episode still rankles him. In March 2007, a little more than a month after being named chief executive, he was held in an investigative judge’s chambers for nearly 36 hours to answer questions about a 10-year-old gas deal in Iran. The judge ordered that Mr. de Margerie’s tie, shoelaces and belt be removed, lest he try to harm himself. It was not the first time that he had found himself in such an uncomfortable position. The previous year, he was questioned about his role in the United Nations oil-for-food program in Iraq, which Saddam Hussein used to skim billions of dollars in fees. Total and Mr. de Margerie deny any wrongdoing. No charges have been brought forward, and neither case is part of an active prosecution. For his part, Mr. De Margerie says other issues demand his attention. At a time when national oil companies — like Aramco, Petronas in Malaysia, Petrobras in Brazil and Gazprom in Russia — control large shares of the world’s reserves, and nationalistic governments tighten the screws on foreign companies, the traditional role of Western oil companies is under threat. “Being accepted simply means being able to perform your job even in the most hostile environments,” Mr. de Margerie says. The Hadhramaut region of central Yemen offers a stunning natural backdrop of deep gorges and lush valleys interlacing one another like delicate fingers. It also provides a good window on how Total balances the requirements of its oil business and its relationship with the locals. Total operates its main oil-producing block on a desert plateau about 700 feet above the valley. The company’s rigs are practically invisible from below. On the plateau, the scene feels like a lunar landscape. The facility, called Block 10, produces around 50,000 barrels a day, a relatively small operation compared with the huge fields found in neighboring Saudi Arabia. Despite its size, the operation exemplifies the hardships that Total is willing to take on in its hunt for new energy sources. The company, which has been in Yemen since the 1980s, is now the country’s largest outside investor. While the government has welcomed foreign concerns, dealings can be complicated. In 2006, a joint venture between the Hunt Oil Company and Exxon ended abruptly after Yemen canceled a contract to explore a field known as Marib al-Jawf. Total’s managers here believe that their work with local communities — building schools or financing computer classes and sewing tutorials — can help them avoid similar problems. But dealing with local residents can still be tricky. A few months ago, torrential rains devastated the region that lies beneath Total’s operations, uprooting nearly half the palm trees in the area and killing 44 people. The company says it has provided more than $300,000 in emergency aid to help deal with the flooding, in addition to $800,000 it spends each year for its own local development programs. On a recent morning, Mr. Deffontaines, Total’s general manager in Yemen, was meeting with residents hit by the floods. Sitting among tribal representatives, Mr. Deffontaines grew uncomfortable as Dr. Awad al-Jabery, a local politician, asked Total for more money for reconstruction in the region. “We are like kids demanding things from their father,” Dr. al-Jabery said. “Oil will one day be depleted in this area for Total, but if you contribute to this project, you will be remembered here for centuries.” Mr. Deffontaines defused the tension with a broad smile and a quick joke. “I prefer to keep a brotherly relationship with you rather than one of father and son,” he said. So it goes for Mr. Deffontaines, who says he spends about a third of his time on community-related issues in Yemen — in addition to attending to such matters as the explosive charge placed on his pipeline by terrorists last year that punched a fist-size hole in the tube. More recently, he has had to contend with thorny personnel issues. In April, in response to growing security concerns, he decided to send the families of his workers back to France. His own wife, son and twin daughters were among those forced to depart. Mr. Deffontaines says that sending loved ones home was among the hardest choices he’s had to make, but it may have been very wise. A few months later, militants disguised as soldiers detonated two car bombs outside the American Embassy compound here. While Mr. Deffontaines chalks up all of this to the ups and downs — and the thrills — of working for Total, he says his family is less enamored of the hardships. “My wife’s not too thrilled,” he says. “You could say she doesn’t fill up at Total these days.”
- Total announces the signature of a partnership agreement with the French Ministry of Defense to place civilian and military personnel leaving the armed forces with the Group. The partnership extends nationwide and is applied at both regional and local levels. It is designed to match jobs available within the Total Group with applications forwarded by the Ministry of Defense. Thanks to this initiative, and in line with its usual recruitment procedures, Total will be able to facilitate access to jobs with the company for both young and experienced candidates from diverse backgrounds. To support its growth, the Group recruits more than 8,000 employees a year worldwide, including 1,600 in France. All candidates—men and women, entry-level and experienced, from varied educational backgrounds—share the energy, open-mindedness, flexibility and team spirit on which Total’s success is built.
• Upstream news:
- Total announces that its subsidiary Total Upstream Nigeria Limited (TUPNI), operator of the OML 130 block, has started production from its Akpo deep water development ahead of the planned start-up date. With proved and probable reserves estimated at 620 millions barrels of condensate (around 50° API), and more than 1 tera cubic feet (tcf)* of gas, Akpo is one of the largest deep offshore projects ever undertaken and will be the largest brought on stream in 2009. This start-up provides further evidence of the Group’s capacity to meet the technology challenges of deep offshore, an area in which Total’s track record is already ranked among world leaders. The ramp up of production to 175,000 barrels per day of condensate and 320 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd) gas plateau is expected to be reached during summer 2009.
- Total announces that its affiliate, Total Exploration and Production Vietnam (“Total”), has signed a Production Sharing Contract with Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) for the exploration blocks DBSCL-02 and DBSCL-03. The blocks, which are located in the Mekong Delta area onshore, will be operated by Total with a 75% interest, PetroVietnam Exploration Production (“PVEP”) holding a 25% interest. Having created a partnership in 2007 with PVEP and the Korean company SK on offshore block 15-1/05, Total continues to develop its presence in Vietnam.
• Downstream news:
- Total and GDF SUEZ announce that they are considering together locating a silicium wafers fabrication plant intended for the photovoltaic industry on the De Vernejoul industrial site in the Moselle region in France. The initial investment is estimated at approximately 70M€ and could involve 80 to 100 jobs. This project is subject to both companies’ required respective corporate approvals and to the necessary administrative authorizations.
- In a challenging economic environment, Total is continuing to work to secure the future. As part of its efforts to do so, upgrading of its industrial base remains a priority. The Group has therefore planned to invest more than 1 B€ in refining, petrochemicals and solar energy in France. The planned investments will create an average of over 1,000 jobs a year between 2009 and 2011, which will have a significant impact on economic activity and employment of the regions concerned.
• Business/Finance news:
- The second Total Energy & Education Seminar will be held in Paris from March 1 to 5. On this occasion, Université Total will welcome 55 professors, representing 52 universities in 24 countries*, for a series of lectures and discussions on energy and education issues. Specialized in disciplines relating to energy, economics or management, the participants will have the opportunity to share their views with around 20 Total senior executives and outside experts. The issues that will be addressed during the week-long seminar include the future of energy, climate change, relations between universities and business, and the impact of globalization on education and human resources management. The final session on the seminar agenda will take place at Collège de France, where Total has recently agreed to fund a new Sustainable Development, Environment, Energy and Society Chair. The holder of the chair, Professor Henri Léridon, the distinguished Director of Research at the French National Institute of Demographic Research (INED), will deliver his inaugural lecture to seminar participants.
- Collège de France is creating a chair of sustainable development, energy and societal issues. Endowed for five years, the chair will be held annually by an eminent, internationally recognized figure who will lecture on core sustainable development issues such as climate change and its impact on health and the economy; the impact of human activities on water, carbon and nitrogen cycles; food and nutrition; biodiversity; and the future of energy. Scientific, engineering and social science aspects will be considered.
- Awarded by the French-Chinese Foundation for Sciences and Their Applications (FFCSA), the Prix Gilles Kahn was conferred on Liao Zewen, Assistant Professor with the Geochemistry Institute’s Organic Geochemistry Laboratory, part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in Guangzhou. The FFCSA sponsored a post-doctoral fellowship, supervised by Dr. Alain Graciaa, for Liao Zewen in 2002 at the Complex Fluids Laboratory at Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour in France. His preliminary results were so promising that his fellowship was extended a further year, jointly funded by Total and the Regional Council of the Pyrénées Atlantiques region. Liao Zewen’s research primarily focused on adsorption and occlusion phenomena in asphaltene*. His work has improved understanding of how hydrocarbons form in reservoirs and also produced an innovative new fluid analysis method used in organic geochemistry.
• Upstream news:
- Total announces that it has signed agreements for a 20-year extension of its 15% participation in Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Limited Company ("Gasco"), alongside the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (“Adnoc”, 68%), Shell (15%) and Partex (2%). The agreements consolidate the commitment of Gasco's shareholders to the company's safe and efficient operations, as well as its striving to continuously improve environmental performance through technical support and technology transfer. Since 1924, Total has been developing long term partnerships in the Middle East. By signing these agreements, Total is pleased to extend and further strengthen its historic cooperation with Adnoc and Abu Dhabi.
- Total E&P Canada Ltd. ("Total Canada"), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Total S.A., announces that it has sold a 10% interest in the Northern Lights Partnership (NLP) to SinoCanada Petroleum Corporation ("SinoCanada"), a subsidiary of China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec). As a consequence of the transaction, NLP will be owned by Total Canada and SinoCanada, with 50% each. SinoCanada acquired in May 2005 a 40% interest in NLP from Synenco Energy Inc.. Total Canada acquired the remaining 60% interest when it purchased Synenco Energy Inc. in 2008. The Northern Lights Oil Sands Project is located approximately 100 kilometres northeast of Fort McMurray, Alberta. Total is studying the development scheme of the NLP that will be developed through mining techniques, benefitting from the experience of the other developments that the Group is involved with in the area. Total is strongly committed to this project, which is in line with the Group’s strategy of developing non-traditional oil fields to provide important long term production capacities.
- Total announces that its subsidiary, TOTAL E&P USA, INC. (“Total”), has entered into several agreements with Cobalt International Energy, L.P. (“Cobalt”) to jointly explore the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. These agreements will form the basis of a strategic alliance in this area that offers numerous promising exploration opportunities. The alliance will bring together Cobalt’s proven expertise in the Gulf of Mexico, along with Total’s worldwide experience in deep offshore exploration and development.
- Total announces that the joint venture holding the Australian exploration permit WA-285-P (Total 24%, INPEX 76% operator) has decided to launch the Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) for the development of the Ichthys field, located in the Browse Basin approximately 200 kilometres offshore North West Australia and approximately 850 kilometres to the west of Darwin. With proved and probable reserves estimated to be around 530 million barrels of condensate and 12.8 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas, Ichthys is one of the largest discoveries in Australia, and will be the first major gas development in the Browse Basin Region.
• Downstream news:
- Total announces the inauguration of Qatargas 2, a liquefied natural gas (LNG) venture, composed of two trains of 7.8 million tons per year (Mt/y) each and for which Total holds a 16.7% interest in the second train, alongside the state-owned company Qatar Petroleum (65%) and ExxonMobil (18.3%). Total is also a shareholder in the South Hook Terminal in Wales (Total, 8.35%), the largest in Europe allowing the import and regasification of LNG. With a capacity of 15.6 Mt/y, it will receive LNG from the Qatargas 2 Project.
- Total announces that it has acquired an interest in Gevo, a Denver-based company developing a portfolio of bio-products for the transportation fuel and chemicals markets. Created in 2005, Gevo is developing an innovative technology to convert sugars derived from biomass into higher alcohols and hydrocarbons. Gevo plans to start marketing these products, currently in the development phase, in 2011.
• Business/Finance news:
- The Registration Document (Document de référence) for the year ended December 31, 2008, was filed with the French Financial Markets Authority (Autorité des Marchés Financiers) on Friday April 3, 2009. Copies of this document are available free of charge, pursuant to applicable law, and can be downloaded from the Company’s website ( www.total.com) under the heading Investor Relations/Regulated Information in France/Annual Reports.
- Effective April 1, 2009, Michel Hourcard is appointed Senior Vice-President Development and Operations Techniques, and Senior Vice-President for the Scientific and Technical Center in Pau. He succeeds Jean-Marie Guillermou, who is appointed Senior Vice-President Asia-Pacific, Exploration & Production, effective April 1, 2009, replacing Charles Mattenet.
- Total announces that Total E&P Canada Ltd. (the “Offeror”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of TOTAL S.A., has increased the consideration under its offer (the “Offer”) to acquire all of the outstanding common shares (the “Common Shares”) of UTS Energy Corporation (“UTS”) from C$ 1.30 cash per share to C$ 1.75 cash per share and that it has extended the expiry time for the Offer from 8:00 p.m. (Toronto time) on April 16, 2009 to 8:00 p.m. (Toronto time) on April 27, 2009. All other terms of the Offer described in the Offeror’s offer and circular dated January 29, 2009, as amended by a notice of extension dated March 30, 2009, remain unchanged. The increased offer price represents a premium of approximately 111% over the closing price of C$ 0.83 for the Common Shares on January 27, 2009, the last trading day immediately preceding the announcement of the Offeror’s intention to make the Offer. The Offeror anticipates mailing a Notice of Variation in respect of the amended offer on or about April 14, 2009.
- Total decided to create a community development fund to help young people. The total endowment will be €50 million, starting with a donation of €25 million that will be increased by €5 million a year over five years. Total will be signing an initial agreement with France’s High Commission for Action to Alleviate Poverty in the coming weeks. The agreement will cover funding of driver education for 10,000 young people in apprenticeships; keeping students in school by supporting them and their families through a “helping hand” program under a partnership with Association pour Favoriser l’Egalité des Chances à l’Ecole (APFEE); and helping young entrepreneurs to start up their own businesses, as part of the CréaJeunes program run by Association pour le Droit à l’Initiative Economique (ADIE).
- The seventh World Day for Safety at Work will be observed in a broad array of activities worldwide on April 28. Total is taking this opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to safety and its ambitious objectives for management and employee involvement. On that day, all of Total’s subsidiaries in more than 130 countries around the globe will be holding special safety-themed activities.
- Total announced that its offer to acquire all of the outstanding common shares of UTS Energy Corporation (“UTS”) for C$1.75 cash per share (the “Offer”) through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Total E&P Canada Ltd. (“Total Canada”), expired at 8:00 p.m. (Toronto time) on April 27, 2009. At the time of expiry, the condition that there shall be at least 662/3% of the common shares (calculated on a fully-diluted basis) validly deposited under the Offer and not properly withdrawn at the expiry time (the “Minimum Condition”) had not been met. The Offer is therefore terminated. Total Canada has instructed Kingsdale Shareholder Services Inc., the depositary for the Offer, to promptly return all deposited Common Shares in accordance with the Offer.
• Upstream news:
- Total announces positive results for the Moho Nord Marine-4 (MHNM-4) well, approximately 75 kilometres offshore of the Republic of Congo, in a water depth of 1,078 metres in the northern part of the Moho-Bilondo license. The discovery follows on from the Moho Nord Marine-1 and 2 finds in 2007 and the positive delineation well of Moho Nord Marine-3 (MHNM-3) in 2008. These discoveries reinforce Total’s confidence in the emergence of a development pole in the northern part of the Moho-Bilondo license. The Phase 1 development of the southern part of Moho-Bilondo, where production began in April 2008, is currently continuing with drilling of further wells that will permit the plateau of 90 000 barrels of oil equivalent per day to be reached in 2010. The development is comprised of fourteen subsea wells tied back to a Floating Production Unit (FPU) with output exported to the onshore Djéno terminal.
- Total announces that the Tahiti field located in the Gulf of Mexico started production on May 5, 2009. This deepwater field, operated by Chevron, in which Total owns a 17% interest along with StatoilHydro, is one of the largest fields in the Gulf of Mexico. It is expected to reach a plateau production of approximately 125,000 barrels of crude oil per day and 70 million cubic feet of natural gas per day before the end of the year. At plateau, the Tahiti field will contribute to Total’s production in the United States by more than 20,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d).
- Total announces that, within the framework of the EGAS 2008 international bid round organized by the Egyptian authorities, it has been awarded a 90% participation in and the operatorship of Block 4 (East El Burullus Offshore) in conjunction with partner ENEL (10%). This award is subject to approval by the competent authorities. This block is located in the Mediterranean Sea, in the Nile Basin, and covers an area of 2,516 square kilometres, and is situated approximately 70 kilometres from the coast in water depths varying from 100 to 1,600 metres. The Nile basin is a prolific area where numerous gas discoveries have already been made.
• Downstream news:
- The French Prime Minister Francois Fillon has granted GDF SUEZ a 33.33% block of shares plus one share in the company formed to build and operate the EPR in Penly, alongside its partner EDF which will hold the majority of the capital. As indicated previously, GDF SUEZ has proposed to Total that they should join forces for this project. GDF SUEZ and Total agreed on a partnership agreement with respective stakes of 75% and 25% to jointly own this stake. This decision reinforces GDF SUEZ’s position, role and expertise in the nuclear sector. For Total, this will be the first nuclear project the Group is involved in. The two Groups are happy with the government’s decision and will jointly contribute to the project’s success, lead by EDF.
- Total announces the inauguration of the South Hook LNG re-gasification Terminal, the largest in Europe, located in Milford Haven, UK, Wales. The South Hook Terminal is owned and operated by South Hook LNG, a company formed through the joint venture of Qatar Petroleum (67.5%), ExxonMobil (24.15%) and Total (8.35%). With a capacity of 15.6 million tonnes (Mt) per year, the South Hook Terminal, will receive LNG from the Qatargas 2 Project in Qatar. Total also holds a 16.7% interest in train B of Qatargas 2 which is due to come on stream later in the year.
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• Upstream news:
- Total announces the discovery of a significant gas condensate field in the Niscota block of the Andes foothills, 300 kilometres north east of Bogota, Colombia. Total owns a 50% interest in the block, alongside partners Talisman Energy Inc. (30%) and Hocol (operator, 20%). The exploration well, Huron-1, drilled a prospect to a depth of approximately 5,500 metres in a heavily faulted area, and encountered several reservoirs, one of which was tested at 3,400 barrels per day of gas condensate, and the others are still to be tested. The appraisal of the Huron-1 structure is underway with the start of a 3D seismic campaign aiming to precisely define the importance of this discovery and to locate the future appraisal wells.
- Total announces that following the twentieth licensing round organised by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy in Norway, its affiliate, Total E&P Norge AS, has been awarded a 40% interest and operatorship in the production license PL 535 in the Barents Sea. With this new licence, Total continues to build a solid portfolio for a long-term presence in Norway. Total is firmly committed to actively pursuing, both as operator and partner, future opportunities to explore and develop Norway’s oil and gas resources. The Barents Sea license PL 535 covers blocks 7225/3 and 7226/1, containing the “Nordvarg” prospect. The license, located by about 370 meters of water depth, is situated approximately 275 kilometres from the Snøhvit LNG plant at Melkøya (Total 18.4%), near Hammerfest on the North Norwegian coast. Alongside Total E&P Norge AS, Aker Exploration AS, Rocksource ASA and North Energy AS, have each been awarded a 20% interest in the exploration license.
- Total, the French oil company, has signed an agreement to jointly develop a natural gas field on the Yamal Peninsula in a gas-rich area of the Russian Arctic. Total and Novatek, a private Russian gas company, agreed to invest $900 million in the Termokarstovoye gas condensate field at a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, a leader who closely monitors energy deals with foreign companies in Russia.
• Downstream news:
- Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemical Company (SATORP) finalized the awarding plan for Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contracts that constitute the thirteen different process packages of their Jubail joint venture refinery, following a meeting of the SATORP Board of Directors. The awarding of these contracts marks an important step in the execution of this 400,000 barrel per day world-class, full-conversion refinery in Jubail, Saudi Arabia, which plans to be fully operational by the second half of 2013. When completed, the export refinery will be one of the most advanced refineries in the world and will process Arabian Heavy crude to products fulfilling the most stringent specifications, to meet rising demand for environmentally-friendly fuels. A portion of Jubail refinery’s production will be consumed locally to meet spikes in domestic demand. In-Kingdom refineries, such as the Jubail joint venture, have the location advantage to effectively and efficiently supply both international and domestic demand. The full-conversion refinery will maximize production of diesel and jet fuels, and will also produce 700,000 tons per year (t/y) of paraxylene, 140,000 t/y of benzene and 200,000 t/y of polymer-grade propylene.
- Total, the majority shareholder (55%) of the Vlissingen refinery, exercised its pre-emptive rights over the shares (45%) of this asset that were offered for sale by Dow Chemical. Concurrently, Lukoil submitted to Total a binding purchase offer for these shares (45%), which constitutes the development of a new partnership between the two companies. Russian crude oil, for which Lukoil is one of the major suppliers, represents one of the main sources of the Vlissingen refinery. More broadly, this type of crude oil represents a significant portion for the supply of Total’s European refineries.
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- Effective June 1, Manoelle Lepoutre has been appointed Executive Vice President, Sustainable Development and Environment, succeeding Jean-Michel Gires.
- Total announced that it has signed Heads of Agreement (HOA) with Novatek to acquire a 49% interest in Terneftegas, a Novatek’s wholly-owned subsidiary. Novatek will maintain the remaining 51% interest. Terneftegas holds a license to develop and produce gas and condensates in the onshore Termokarstovoye field located in the Yamalo-Nenets region. Termokarstovoye is situated approximately 250 kilometres East of Tarkosale where Novatek operates a processing facility for its own onshore production. The field has a potential of more than 47.3 billion cubic meters of gas and about 10.3 million tons of condensate. Novatek and Total will carry out additional appraisal and development studies on the Termokarstovoye field with the objective to launch the project in 2011. The deal shall be closed upon approval of the Federal Antimonopoly Service.
• Upstream news:
- Total announces that the Tyrihans oil and gas field in the Norwegian Sea started production. This field, in which Total owns a 23.18% interest, is the largest field to be brought on stream in Norway in 2009. Development drilling operations will continue over the next two years. Total's share of production is expected to average around 25,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day over the next decade. Located South East of the Åsgard field in the Norwegian Sea, in about 270 metres water depth, Tyrihans is a complete sub-sea development tied into existing facilities and infrastructure of the Åsgard and Kristin fields on Haltenbanken. Total holds a participation interest of 7.68% in Åsgard unit and 6.00% in the Kristin field.
- Total announces that its 75.8% - owned affiliate, Total Exploration & Production Cameroon, has been awarded by the Ministry of Industry, Mining and Technological Development of Cameroon the Lungahe exploration block in the offshore Rio del Rey basin. Total Exploration & Production Cameroon will operate this block with a 100% participation stake. The 83.6 square–kilometre block is located near concessions and permits operated by Total in Cameroon.
• Downstream news:
- A serious accident occurred Wednesday 15 July at 3:15 p.m. at the Total Petrochemicals France plant in Carling-Saint-Avold. At this time eight victims have been identified. To the great regret of the Group, two people sadly lost their life in the accident and six others are in the hospital. The accident occurred during operations to restart the steamcracker* which was shut down following recent storms. In the course of these operations, a steam generator exploded. The causes of the explosion are not yet known. The plant has been secured and there is no risk of pollution. A victim support group is being set up to provide information and counseling to the victims’ families and colleagues. The Group is profoundly distressed by this accident and expresses its heartfelt condolences and sympathy to all the victims and their families.
• Business/Finance news:
- Effective July 16, 2009, Bertrand de La Noue is appointed Vice-President, Investor Relations, succeeding Jérôme Schmitt.
- Effective September 1, 2009, Jérôme Schmitt, will be appointed Group Treasurer, succeeding Charles Paris de Bollardière.
- Effective July 9, Patrice de Viviès has been appointed Senior Vice President, Northern Europe, Total Exploration & Production, succeeding Michel Contie.
- Jacques Maigné, 54, appointed Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hutchinson succeeding Pierre-Christian Clout.
• Upstream news:
- Total announces that it has filed a declaration of commerciality with the Bolivian authorities for the Itau gas field. Itau was discovered in 1999 in Block XX Tarija West and is operated by Total with 75% equity. The production from this field will be transported using existing infrastructure on the neighbouring San Alberto gas field, operated by Petrobras. Itau is scheduled to start up mid-2010 and its expected production will be 50 million standard cubic feet per day (1.4 million cubic metres per day). Located in the prolific foothills of the Andean Cordillera, Block XX contains large reserves of gas condensate in fractured sandstones reservoirs of the Devonian period.
• Downstream news:
- A serious accident occurred at the Total Petrochemicals plant in Gonfreville, France, at 9:14 a.m. on August 4 when, for reasons as yet unexplained, an empty sulfuric acid tank overturned during repairs. A Total Petrochemicals employee and two contractor employees were injured, two seriously. Supported by the local fire and emergency services, Total Petrochemicals’ emergency responders provided first aid and transferred the injured to hospitals in Le Havre. One of three was discharged from hospital yesterday afternoon. Eight other people in a state of shock were treated at the site clinic, with the help of the firefighters. The accident scene was secured by the teams. There is no threat to the environment. As a precaution, work being performed nearby was halted. We wholeheartedly support the employees and families affected, share their concern and are closely monitoring the condition of the people injured.
- Regrettably, three people have been injured, with one requiring hospitalization, following an accident that occurred at the Total Petrochemicals plant in Gonfreville, France. Eight other people are in a state of shock. For reasons as yet unexplained, an empty sulfuric acid tank overturned during repairs. There is no risk of contamination. Updates will be provided as soon as more information becomes available.
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- Total announces that the Tombua and Landana fields located 80 kilometres offshore Angola, operated by Chevron and in which Total owns a 20% interest, started crude oil production on 19 August 2009. The two fields located in Block 14 are expected to achieve peak production of 100,000 barrels per day in 2011. Recoverable resources for the two fields are estimated at 350 million barrels. The Tombua and Landana fields are located in 366 metres of water in Block 14. The 3.8 billion dollars project includes 46 wells and comprises a 474 metres compliant piled tower and sub-sea production facilities for the Tombua and Landana fields. The design will prevent any discharge of produced water and any routine gas flaring. The associated gas will be supplied to the Angola Liquefied Natural Gas project currently being constructed in Soyo, in which Total owns a 13.6% interest. Block 14 is operated by Chevron (31%), alongside Total (20%), Sonangol P&P (20%), Eni (20%) and GALP (9%).
- Total announces that its affiliate, Total E&P UK Limited (Total E&P UK), has entered into agreements with Mobil North Sea LLC, Marathon Oil U.K., Ltd. and Anadarko North Sea Holding Company Limited to acquire a 43.75% stake in UK Licence No. P967, which includes the Tobermory discovery. Total E&P UK will become the operator of the licence. The Tobermory gas reservoir was discovered in 1999 by well 214/4-1. It is located in 1,600 metres of water depth and situated 175 kilometres North-West of the Shetland Isles. This acquisition is in line with Total’s strategy of developing its position in the West of Shetland basin around its Laggan and Tormore operated discoveries. The development studies for these discoveries are being finalised and new gas export infrastructure to the St. Fergus gas terminal is planned, which Tobermory could utilise.
• Downstream news:
- Total announces that Train B of the Qatargas 2 project started producing liquefied natural gas (LNG) on September 7, 2009. Train B, in which Total holds a 16.7% interest alongside the state-owned company Qatar Petroleum (65%) and ExxonMobil (18.3%), is one of the two trains that compose the Qatargas 2 project and has a production capacity of 7.8 million tons per year (Mt/y). This project is the first integrated LNG project in the world as it also comprises the South Hook re-gasification terminal, located in Milford Haven, South Wales (United Kingdom), in which Total holds an 8.35% interest. This terminal, which started operating in the second quarter 2009, is the largest in Europe for import and LNG re-gasification with a capacity of 15.6 Mt/y. LNG from Qatargas 2 Train B is primarily intended for deliveries in the United Kingdom, France and the United States.
- The two major energy companies Total and GDF SUEZ and their common solar cells manufacturing subsidiary Photovoltech join the IMEC industrial affiliation program (IIAP) on next generations of crystalline silicon solar cells. The multi-partner R&D program concentrates on sharply reducing the silicon use, whilst at the same time increasing the efficiency of solar cells. This will substantially lower the cost for solar energy. With its IIAP, IMEC sets up a research ecosystem with the aim to create innovative processes to fabricate the next generations of silicon solar cells. Total, GDF SUEZ and Photovoltech will dedicate researchers to this program. Thus, researchers from energy companies, solar cell manufacturers and material and equipment suppliers will work together with IMEC’s solar experts on developing these advanced processes and testing them on a semi-industrial pilot line.
- Total and the partners of the Bongkot Joint Venture announce that a Gas Sales Agreement has been signed with PTT covering all gas production from the Greater Bongkot South (GBS) field in the Gulf of Thailand. The Joint Venture is operated by PTTEP (44.45%), alongside partners Total (33.33%) and BG Group (22.22%). With all the construction contracts for the GBS development being awarded, GBS first production is expected in 2012. At plateau, GBS will contribute 20,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day to Total’s production, an increase of approximately 50% to the Group’s production in Thailand. This development will enable the Bongkot Joint Venture to further contribute to the increasing gas demand in Thailand.
• Business/Finance news:
- The French oil company Total pulled its foreign staff out of Port-Gentil, Gabon’s second largest city, as security forces clashed anew with protesters opposed to the election of Ali Ben Bongo as president. At least two people have been shot dead in three days of unrest since the election results were announced. An opposition party has called for “resistance” to accepting Mr. Bongo to succeed his father, Omar Bongo, who died in June after 41 years as president of this Central African country. Security forces battled looters through the night in Port-Gentil, where a curfew was ordered after a police station and the offices of French companies were attacked. Public buildings and a sports and social club run by Total were destroyed Saturday. Total sent its Port-Gentil staff members and their families to the capital, Libreville, a company spokesman said. France, the former colonial ruler, evacuated most of its citizens from Port-Gentil after its consulate was razed.
- Charles Paris de Bollardière, 53, has been appointed Company Secretary of Total S.A. by decision of the September 15, 2009 Board of Directors Meeting, succeeding Thierry Reveau de Cyrières. Mr Reveau de Cyrières is taking new responsibilities within the Company.
- Total and Laboratoire de Physique des Interfaces et des Couches Minces (LPICM), a joint R&D research team between the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and France’s Ecole Polytechnique engineering school, today announce the creation of a joint research team focusing on thin film technologies for photovoltaic solar applications. The NanoPV R&D team comprises some 15 researchers and Ph.D. students from Total and the CNRS-Ecole Polytechnique joint research unit. It is based on the Ecole Polytechnique campus in the Saclay area near Paris, home to France’s nanotechnology expertise cluster. Total will provide resources and funding of approximately €8 million during the initial four-year phase. The research program will develop silicon thin film technologies and explore new concepts using silicon nanowires. The primary focus of the research is to reduce the cost of solar energy to step up its deployment.
• Upstream news:
- Total announces the signature of a Heads of Agreement (HOA) establishing the principles of a partnership with KazMunaiGas (KMG) for the development of the Khvalynskoye field, located offshore in the Caspian Sea on the border between Kazakhstan and Russia. Khvalynskoye is a conventional gas condensate field located in water depths of 25 metres which will be developed by Lukoil (50%, operator). The gas produced from this field will be transported to Russia. Under the terms of the HOA, Total and GdF-Suez will acquire a participation of 25% (Total 17%, GdF-Suez 8%) from the initial 50% stake held by KMG.
- Total (37.75%), Sonatrach (51%) and Cepsa (11.25%) announce that the Algerian National Oil and Gas Development Agency (ALNAFT) has approved the development plan for the Timimoun natural gas project, located between Timimoun and Adrar in southwestern Algeria. This project milestone is the outcome of an exploration and appraisal program begun in 2003, during which six wells were drilled. Development work should begin in the fourth quarter of the year, with first gas scheduled for 2013. Timimoun is expected to commercially produce around 1.6 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year (160 millions cubic feet per day) at plateau. Total, Sonatrach and Cepsa will jointly operate the Timimoun project. The development plan entails drilling around 40 wells to tap eight structures over an area of 2,500 square kilometres. It also includes the construction of gas gathering and processing facilities, as well as a connection to the pipeline that Sonatrach has been called to develop to carry gas from fields in southwestern Algeria to Hassi R’Mel. Under the marketing agreement, Sonatrach will market all the gas produced.
- Total announces that its subsidiary, TEPA (Block 17/06) Limited, and Sociedade Nacional de Combustíveis de Angola (Sonangol E.P.), have discovered oil on Block 17/06, in the deep waters of the Angolan offshore. Gardenia-1 is the first well and the first discovery made on Block 17/06. It was drilled in a water depth of 977 meters. The well discovered hydrocarbon reservoirs, both in the Miocene and the Oligocene. On the Miocene interval, the well produced 4,000 barrels per day (b/d) of 25 API° oil during tests. This first discovery of Gardenia-1 confirms the potential of the north-western part of Block 17/06. A campaign of further drilling on the block will start on the fourth quarter 2009. Sonangol E.P. is the concessionary of Block 17/06. TEPA (Block 17/06) Limited is the operator with a 30% stake. The other partners on Block 17/06 are Sonangol Pesquisa e Produção, S.A. (30%), SSI Seventeen Limited (27.5%), ACREP Bloco 17 S.A. (5%), Falcon Oil Holding Angola, S.A. (5%) and PARTEX Oil and Gas (Holdings) Corporation (2.5%).
• Downstream news:
- As Europe’s leading automotive fuel refiner and marketer, Total is committed to stepping up the development of second-generation biofuels, which are needed to improve the environmental profile of crop-based fuels and avoid the use of food crops as feedstock. Already a partner in France’s Futurol project to develop second-generation bioethanol, Total has expressed an interest in actively participating in the BioTfueL project.
- Total announces that the Yemen LNG liquefaction plant started producing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) on October 15, 2009. Total is lead shareholder of Yemen LNG and holds a 39.62% interest, alongside the state-owned company Yemen Gas Company (16.73%), Hunt Oil Company (17.22%), SK Energy (9.55%), Korea Gas Corporation (6%), Hyundai Corporation (5.88%), and GASSP1 (5%). The Yemen LNG project, which will have required an overall USD 4.5 billions investment, is the most important investment ever made in Yemen. It consists in supplying gas from Block 18, located in the Marib region in central Yemen, through a 320 kilometres dedicated pipeline to the LNG plant located at the port of Balhaf on the southern coast of the country. The plant started production with the first train while the construction of the second train is being completed. Total production capacity will reach 6.7 millions tons of LNG per year (Mt/y). Following the three gas sales agreements signed in 2005 with Kogas, GDF-Suez and Total Gas & Power Ltd., LNG from Yemen LNG will be exported to both the Asian and Atlantic markets.
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- Total announces that its subsidiary, Total E&P Vietnam, and its partners on Block 15-1/05, have discovered oil in the Lac Da Nau prospect, located in the southern part of the block in the Vietnamese offshore. 15-01/05 LDN-1X exploration well is the first well drilled and the first discovery made on Block 15-01/05. It is located approximately 110 kilometers to the East of Vung Tau, about 65 kilometers off the coast, and was drilled in a water depth of 45 meters. The well produced 4,200 barrels per day of 44 API° oil during tests performed in the basement. Phu Quy Petroleum Operating Exploration and Production Company Limited,a subsidiary of Petrovietnam Exploration and Production Corporation, is the Operator of Block 15-1/05 with a 40% stake. The other partners on Block 15-1/05 are Total E&P Vietnam (35%) and SK Energy (25%).
- Total E&P Russie, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Total S.A., announced the transfer of a 10% interest in the Kharyaga oil field to state-owned Zarubezhneft of Russia. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed in 1999 at the same time as the Kharyaga production sharing agreement (PSA) stipulated that a Russian partner would take a stake in the project. Total is operator of phases 2 and 3 of the Kharyaga field, which is located in the Nenets Autonomous District. The development of phase 3, which received the go-ahead in December 2007, will increase output to 30,000 barrels per day (b/d), compared to 20,000 b/d in 2008.
• Downstream news:
- A court in Toulouse acquitted a subsidiary of the French oil giant Total and a former factory manager in a 2001 explosion at a chemical plant that killed 31 people and injured more than 2,000.
- Total announces the signing of a research agreement with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to develop new stationary batteries that are designed to enable the storage of solar power. This agreement valued at $4 million over five years is part of the MIT Energy Initiative, which Total joined as a member in November 2008. The Total-MIT research project is primarily focused on development of a low-cost, long-life battery suited to store the power generated by solar panels. The ability to store power is a major challenge and an essential ingredient for the scale up and widespread deployment of affordable solar power.
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- Total announces the acquisition of a 25% interest in the Guyane Maritime Permit from Hardman Petroleum France SAS, an affiliate of Tullow Oil plc. The permit, located about 150 kilometres off the coast of French Guiana, covers an area of approximately 32,000 square kilometers (km2) in water depths ranging from 2,000 to 3,000 metres. This acquisition, which is subject to approval from the French authorities, complements Total’s portfolio in deepwater acreage in a new oil exploration region for the Group. In the permit, a 3D seismic acquisition program covering an area of up to 3,000 km2 is already underway.
- Total announces that its subsidiary, Total Exploration & Production Nigeria Ltd, has discovered hydrocarbons in the southern portion of the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 223 deepwater offshore South-Eastern Nigeria. The Owowo South B-1 well was drilled in a water depth of 670 metres and is located 20 kilometres East of the Usan field, currently under development. The well reached a total measured depth of 2,227 metres and discovered several oil bearing reservoirs with a fluid qualified as light oil according to shows during drilling and from logging data. Under the production sharing contract governing the OPL 223, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is concessionaire of the license, which in turn is operated by Total Exploration & Production Nigeria Ltd (18%) in partnership with its co-venturers: Chevron Nigeria Deepwater F Ltd (27%), Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria (Upstream) Ltd (27%), Nexen Petroleum Exploration & Production Nigeria Ltd (18%) and Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) Ltd (10%).
- Total announces that the consortium it has formed with Partex has been awarded a 49% interest in the Ahnet license, as part of the second bid round held by the Algerian National Oil and Gas Development Agency (ALNAFT). Located near In Salah in southwestern Algeria, the Ahnet exploration and development acreage covers an area of 17,358 square kilometers in which twelve natural gas formations have already been discovered. Total holds a 47% interest and will appraise and develop the Ahnet finds with partners Partex (2%) and Sonatrach (51%).
A development plan will be submitted for approval before mid 2011, with first gas scheduled for 2015. The Ahnet license contains significant reserves (approximately 500 billion cubic meters of gas) which should produce at least 4 billion cubic meters a year, as per the contract with Sonatrach. This latest project is a developmental milestone in the new southwestern Algeria gas province, which is also home to the Timimoun project operated by the consortium Sonatrach, Total and Cepsa. It further cements Total’s commitment to investing in Algeria in both the natural gas upstream and petrochemicals.
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- Olivier Cleret de Langavant has been appointed Senior Vice President, Finance Economics Information Systems in Total Exploration & Production. He succeeds Philippe Chalon, who has transferred to another position in Total.
- At the China-Europa Forum business meeting in Le Havre, France on Tuesday, December 8, 2009, Total joins the Assembly of French Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ACFCI) and the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China (CCIFC) in announcing the winner of the 2009 Chamber of Commerce and Industry International Award for China (Prix CCI International Chine 2009). Created to encourage the development of French small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in China, this award recognizes the boldness, professionalism and perseverance of SMEs and entrepreneurs that have successfully launched sustainable businesses in China. As a sponsor of the event, Total provides the winner, Grenoble-based Airstar www.airstar-light.com, with funding to support its operations and development in China. Airstar is the inventor and world leader of lighting balloons. This type of support is just one of several methods that Total has adopted to help drive economic growth in its host regions.