Total to raise $15-20bn through asset sales

24 September 2012, Sweetcrude, LONDON – FRENCH oil giant, Total, said on Monday it intended to raise $15-20 billion with asset sales by the end of 2014.

It also aims to boost production after expected flat output this year, according to AFP report.

Total plans to dispose of some exploration and production activities and some refining and chemical interests to raise $15-20 billion (11.5-15.4 billion euros) from 2012 to 2014, finance director Patrick de la Chevardiere told a London press conference alongside a presentation to investors.

The group also said it intended to raise oil and gas production by 3.0 percent a year on average from 2011 to 2015, from 2.5 percent from 2010 to 2015, with the increase arising wholly from projects already in production or being developed.

Meanwhile, Total is aiming for annual net gains of 650 million euros by 2015 via restructuring it unveiled last year in its refining and chemical activities, it said.

And the group announced separately in Paris that it had acquired a 40-percent stake in a contract concerning oil fields off the coast of Mozambique, for an undisclosed amount paid to the Malaysian oil group Petronas.

Drilling of an exploration well was expected to take place there by the end of the year, a statement said.

Investors were cheered by the announcements and Total shares showed a gain of 0.67 percent to 40.50 euros in afternoon trading on the Paris stock exchange, where the CAC 40 index of French blue-chips was 1.15 percent lower overall.

The new production schedule follows a series of incidents which have constrained output this year, particularly a leak which has disrupted gas production from the Elgin field in the North Sea since the end of March.

Total said it hoped that production from Elgin would be resumed 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, which caused its shares to fall sharply, as the biggest in the North Sea for at least 10 years and put the cost of the leak at $300-400 million (230-310 million euros).

The group has also suffered from a leak at a well in Nigeria and repeated sabotage of a gas pipeline it operates in Yemen.

The group set a target of raising production to 3.0 million barrels per day by 2017 and said that 70 percent of the projects needed to achieve this were already producing and were being developed.

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