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Total Chairman: Pricey Oil Rivals Not A Good Buy Bargain

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Total Chairman: Pricey Oil Rivals Not A Good Buy Bargain

“I won’t even mention Shell,” Desmarest said at a strategy briefing.: “Total was not at the origin of the merger (speculation),” he said.

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Posted 9 Sept 04

PARIS — French energy giant Total SA (TOT) Wednesday said it has little appetite for big acquisitions in the short-term as top-of-the-cycle sector conditions mean there are few bargains available.

Thierry Desmarest, Total’s chairman, also quashed recent speculation that Europe’s third-biggest oil company by production is considering a blockbuster takeover of all or part of bigger Anglo-Dutch rival Royal Dutch/Shell Group (RD, SC).

“I won’t even mention Shell ,” Desmarest said at a strategy briefing. “They remain a company of great human resources and it’s a partner with which we have very good relations.”

Desmarest said claims that Total was the source of rumors for a takeover of Shell , or more specifically The Hague-based parent company Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. (RD) – which owns 60% of Shell – were unfounded.

“Total was not at the origin of the merger (speculation),” he said.

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