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Total denies rumors of courtship with Shell, ConocoPhillips

Oil & Gas Journal: Total denies rumors of courtship with Shell, ConocoPhillips

Doris Leblond

OGJ Correspondent

Posted 14 Sept 04

PARIS, Sept.13 — Total AS Chairman and CEO Thierry Desmarest at the company’s midyear press conference Thursday, scotched rumors circulating that he intended to acquire either Royal Dutch/Shell Group or ConocoPhillips or a medium-size company in the US or Russia.

“I see no operation offering sufficient attractiveness” at this time of high prices, he said. “We are not fanatics of mega-mergers.” However, Desmarest indicated that, if opportunities for acquisitions arose under reasonable conditions, he might pursue them. But he was wary about acquisitions or alliances in Russia unless they carried a “reasonable risk,” and was cautious about any involvement in Iraq.

Nonetheless, he hopes to convince Iraqi authorities that it is technically possible to increase oil production to 5 million b/d “from the current 2.5-3 million within the next 5 years.”

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