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Total Plans $15 Billion in Takeovers, Citigroup Says (Update1)

Bloomberg 

 

By Eduard Gismatullin

Nov. 17 (Bloomberg) — Total SA, France’s largest oil company, is targeting $5 billion to $15 billion in acquisitions, possibly in the U.S. and Australia, Citigroup Inc. said.

“Australia and U.S. `tight gas’ appear of interest,” David Thomas, a London-based analyst at Citigroup, wrote today in an e-mailed report, referring to deposits of natural gas trapped in underground rock formations.

The company “will not do a hostile acquisition and get into a bidding war” and “worries about possible development costs levels” of U.S. tight-gas assets, Thomas wrote.

Total, Eni SpA, Woodside Petroleum Ltd. and Australian Worldwide Exploration Ltd. may be among companies interested in bidding today for Coogee Resources Ltd., the Australian Financial Review said, without citing anyone.

The Paris-based company also cut crude production in Angola and United Arab Emirates because of the Organization Petroleum Exporting Countries limitations, Thomas wrote, citing a company presentation during the trip to the United Arab Emirates.

Total had to reduce output by 14,000 barrels a day in each country, or more than 1 percent of the company’s combined production, Citigroup said.

Spokesman Kevin Church on Nov. 7 said Total had to cut extraction in Angola so the African country could comply with OPEC policy. The group agreed to cut production by 1.5 million barrels a day at a meeting last month. Angola cut production by 99,000 barrels from Nov. 1 to comply with the reduction.

In late 2009 or early 2010, Total expects to receive approval from the Angolan government to develop the deepwater Block 32, Citigroup said. The first project phase will target resources of about 600 million barrels of oil equivalent, according to Thomas.

— With reporting by Tara Patel in Paris. Editors: John Buckley, Jonas Bergman

To contact the reporter on this story: Eduard Gismatullin in London at[email protected]

Last Updated: November 17, 2008 07:46 EST

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