Total’s Production Goals Hinge on Mega-Projects Starting on Time

Total SA, Europe’s third-biggest oil company, expects to meet its output targets as new multibillion dollar projects come online and reverse earlier declines.

Total is sticking to a schedule for oil and natural gas production to start this year at five fields including Sulige in China, Anguille in Gabon, Angola LNG, Kashagan and OML 58 Upgrade, which will add 160,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day, Yves-Louis Darricarrere, the head of exploration and production, said in a presentation on April 22 in the Shetland Islands.

The company is seeking to increase output by an average of 3 percent a year from 2011 to 2015 even as production dropped last year and the year before. Chief Executive Officer Christophe de Margerie has pledged to explore more aggressively for new discoveries to revive growth as well as starting mega-projects from Angola to Kazakhstan.

“We are on track to achieve these targets,” Darricarrere said during a press conference April 22. ’’Projects must be carried out on time.’’

The commissioning of Kashagan in Kazakhstan is moving forward, Darricarrere said in an interview April 23 in Oslo. “A review is underway to determine the start date. It should be in the coming months.”

The Caspian Sea field is slated to produce as much as 370,000 barrels of oil a day. It’s scheduled to begin output by June, about eight years later than initially planned and with costs nearing about $46 billion, almost double early estimates.

Production Growth

Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Eni SpA, Total and KazMunaiGaz each hold 16.8 percent of Kashagan, after the international partners agreed in 2008 to cut their stakes in favor of the state. Japan’s Inpex Corp. owns 7.56 percent.

Total has forecast a production growth rate of 2 percent to 3 percent this year and a longer-term goal of reaching about 3 million barrels of oil equivalent a day production capacity in 2017. This compares to output of 2.3 million barrels of oil equivalent a day last year.

Production last year was hurt by a natural gas leak at the Elgin platform that forced the evacuation and shutdown of the North Sea deposits for almost a year. The company resumed operations at the fields last month.

Shell and BP Plc are the two largest oil companies in Europe by market value.

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