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Total (French Oil) throws gauntlet to U.S. on Iraq deals
Reuters via Yahoo Finance ^ | 2/20/2003 | Emelia Sithole

Posted on 02/21/2003 7:06:35 PM PST by sam_paine

Reuters
UPDATE - Total throws gauntlet to U.S. rivals on Iraq deals
Thursday February 20, 1:34 pm ET
By Emelia Sithole

(Adds new analysts quote, background, closing shares)

PARIS, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Oil giant TotalFinaElf (Paris:TOTF.PA - News) threw down the gauntlet on Thursday to U.S. rivals eyeing Iraq's vast reserves, saying it was confident of winning its share of deals there despite French opposition to a U.S.-led war in Iraq.

The world's fifth largest oil group encouraged investors further by reaffirming its target to boost output five percent per year to 2007, in sharp contrast to bigger rivals BP (London:BP.L - News) and Shell (Amsterdam:RD.AS - News; London:SHEL.L - News), which have both cut output forecasts.

TotalFinaElf, which is shortening its name to Total, made the comments as it reported a 13 percent rise in fourth quarter profit, slightly below expectations.

Media speculation has been mounting in recent months that French President Jacques Chirac's opposition to Washington's stand on military action against Saddam Hussein would hand the advantage to U.S. oil firms further down the line.

France, backed by ally Germany, is trying to rally international opposition to U.S. pressure for war in Iraq and is threatening to veto a planned new resolution seeking U.N. Security Council support for possible military action.

Total Chief Executive Thierry Desmarest conceded that the French stance could make the company's position in Iraq "more complicated," but said it was confident of winning some deals if Total were based on an equal footing with its rivals.

"We have shown in the past that we are able to defend ourselves on an equal footing with our peers even in some areas where there was a reputation of significant American influence," Desmarest said at a news conference on the company's results.

Iraq's reserves are the second largest in the world after Saudi Arabia, but the sector has been starved of foreign investment for years because of war and economic sanctions.

"If there is a change in government, then when it comes to carving up deals, the Americans will want to be seen to be transparent and fair," said SSSB analyst Jonathan Wright.

Total's interest in Iraq dates back to 1922 when it took up a stake in Iraqi Oil Co. and it is widely seen as France's top candidate to win business deals there when they are again on offer. Some industry analysts estimate a post-war Iraqi oil industry would need investments estimated at up to $40 billion.

HIGH CRUDE PRICES HELP NET INCOME

Desmarest said oil prices would ease from current 29-month highs around $37 a barrel after what he described as a probable war in Iraq, adding he expected OPEC (News - Websites)to offset any disruption to Iraqi production that might occur.

Total said fourth-quarter net income before exceptionals rose to 1.609 billion euros ($1.73 billion), from 1.424 billion a year ago, as higher crude oil prices offset the impact of a weaker U.S. dollar.

However, net income for the full year fell 17 percent to 6.260 billion euros, undermined by weakness in both the dollar and European refining margins as well as a 500 million euro provision for the economic crisis in Argentina.

Total shares closed Thursday down 0.9 percent at 121.50 euros, after see-sawing for most of the session. Total, which has a 14.4 percent weighting in the blue-chip CAC-40 component (Paris:^FCHI - News), outperformed the key market index but lagged the pan-European sector (Zurich:^SXEP - News), which was slightly firmer.

"Its EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) was in line with our expectations ... and it gave encouraging production targets," one London-based energy analyst said.

Merrill Lynch analysts were concerned about the group's slightly lower 2005 target of 15.5 percent return on average capital employed, as it appeared to be driven by lower expectations for production and exploration profitability.

Desmarest said he saw no need to resume the 1990s acquisition frenzy, which saw its name expand to TotalFinaElf as it bought European rivals. (-- Additional reporting by Sue Landau, Marie Maitre, Tim Hepher, Alison Tudor)


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Extended News; Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: cesms; chirac; elf; fina; oil; total; warlist
HA! Yeah right, Frenchies..... We'll play "fair and transparent" so you don't have to!!!! We'll see bout that!
1 posted on 02/21/2003 7:06:35 PM PST by sam_paine
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To: MadIvan
Ping across the pond. BP should do well, I hope.
2 posted on 02/21/2003 7:07:36 PM PST by sam_paine
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To: sam_paine
No, Total will not be in Iraq after the French government did everything it could to keep the despot mass-murdering megalomaniac Hitler-wanna-be Saddam Hussein in power. Not one drop of Iraqi crude will be available for development by French oil companies, including Total.
3 posted on 02/21/2003 7:09:53 PM PST by tomahawk
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To: sam_paine
Sure thing froggies. Tell ya what. You buy all the Iraqi oil you want. Hope you can sell it to your fellow frogs, because my family just switched to BP.
4 posted on 02/21/2003 7:13:04 PM PST by way-right-of-center (it's easy to hide when no one is looking)
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To: sam_paine
Oil giant TotalFinaElf (Paris:TOTF.PA - News) threw down the gauntlet on Thursday to U.S. rivals eyeing Iraq's vast reserves, saying it was confident of winning its share of deals there despite French opposition to a U.S.-led war in Iraq.

France: We're might not be right, but at least we're arrogant.

I've got news for you, ChIraq. You're Iraqi policy has long since lost you any share of the spoils. Pump that into your gas tank.

5 posted on 02/21/2003 7:13:56 PM PST by Steel Wolf
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To: Steel Wolf
Ah. Chirac's car. Do Lemons, er, Citroens, run on gas? Or is Chirac the gas bag.....too many connections. I R confused.
6 posted on 02/21/2003 7:16:47 PM PST by sam_paine
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To: sam_paine
I'm with you. French and fair don't belong on the same page, much less the same sentence. There's no telling how much money it's costing us because of their stalling. It "might" cost additional lives as well.

If I were GW, I'd let them know that we'll deal with them EXACTLY the same way they tried to deal with us. If they can get a Security Council Resolution approved saying Total -- or any French companies -- will share in the Iraqi booty, then we'll agree to it. Then, what Great Britain doesn't veto, we will.

They respect the UN so damn much, let them try to tame that international brothel of whores.

7 posted on 02/21/2003 7:16:47 PM PST by geedee
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To: sam_paine
France, Germany protect Iraq ties
8 posted on 02/21/2003 7:18:09 PM PST by Indy Pendance
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To: sam_paine
One more nail in the coffin....
9 posted on 02/21/2003 7:21:47 PM PST by Indy Pendance
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To: sam_paine
Oil giant TotalFinaElf (Paris:TOTF.PA - News) threw down the gauntlet on Thursday to U.S. rivals eyeing Iraq's vast reserves, saying it was confident of winning its share of deals there despite French opposition to a U.S.-led war in Iraq.

They won't need it here. No one will buy it. We pass Total to go to BP.

Becki

10 posted on 02/21/2003 7:43:20 PM PST by Becki (It's time to bomb Saddam!)
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To: sam_paine
By Emelia Sithole

Now, there's an unfortunate name.

11 posted on 02/21/2003 7:52:31 PM PST by Physicist
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To: Physicist
LOL!!!!
12 posted on 02/21/2003 8:53:11 PM PST by crazykatz
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To: sam_paine
Is this the same Total company that owns the Total (7-11 type) gas stations here in Texas? If so they'll never see my car filling up there again.
13 posted on 02/21/2003 10:23:07 PM PST by Reagan is King (Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever)
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To: sam_paine; *war_list; 11th_VA; Libertarianize the GOP; Free the USA; MadIvan; PhiKapMom; ...
OFFICIAL BUMP(TOPIC)LIST
14 posted on 02/21/2003 10:47:12 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (Nuke Saddam and his Baby Milk Factories!!)
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To: sam_paine
Of course they can have their fair share of the market. They can just expect the Iraquis to adjust their bids by a fair amount to compensate for the costs of freeing the Iraqui people. That's only fair.

There should be a Rebuild Iraq tax that is only enforced against companies that do business in Iraq that did not participate in the liberation of Iraq. I'd say a fair amount would be. . . .oh. . . .110% of the profit.

15 posted on 02/22/2003 12:17:26 AM PST by McGavin999
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To: sam_paine
France chose Saddam over the USA. With all the frog sponsored delays and agitation France is already responsible for a more bloody war in Iraq. More American deaths. Their oil companies must pay the price. Play hard ball with these back stabbing bas**rds!
16 posted on 02/22/2003 12:30:32 AM PST by dennisw ( http://www.littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/weblog.php)
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To: dennisw
If we want some "diversity" bring in Dutch Shell. The Froggies must be frozen out!
17 posted on 02/22/2003 12:34:00 AM PST by dennisw ( http://www.littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/weblog.php)
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To: Becki
". . . but said it was confident of winning some deals if Total were based on an equal footing with its rivals. "

Yep, and if their auntie were plumbed a little differently, she might be their uncle.

18 posted on 02/22/2003 5:46:47 AM PST by Vigilanteman
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To: sam_paine
Someone better tell them to read the childs story,The Little Red Hen. They want some of the bread without helping.
19 posted on 02/22/2003 5:49:00 AM PST by mware
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To: Physicist
"Now, there's an unfortunate name."

Should have seen it before her ancestors changed it..........

20 posted on 02/22/2003 5:50:47 AM PST by RightOnline
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To: sam_paine
Hmmmm can anyone say "$4 a gallon,Chirac".
21 posted on 02/22/2003 5:52:36 AM PST by repub32
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To: sam_paine
And just how do the frogs propose to get oil from fields that have been blown to smithereens without helping to cap and rebuild? They'll want our wildcatters to do the dirty work then they'll just take the repaired rigs and pocket the profits. If we allow that then we are as weak and cowardly as the frogs.
22 posted on 02/22/2003 5:52:48 AM PST by Beck_isright (going to war without the French is like deer hunting without an accordian)
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To: Physicist
Now, there's an unfortunate name.

But one which makes her eminently qualified to write about the French.

23 posted on 02/22/2003 5:58:33 AM PST by Colonel_Flagg ("When Iraq is free, they will despise those who marched to keep them in hell." - Mark Steyn)
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To: sam_paine
I was wondering when they'd rear their cheese-eating surrender-monkey froghead. Elf is big in Formula 1 racing as a sponsor of that great automotive manufacturer and maker of the LeCar, Renault. (/sarcasm)


24 posted on 02/22/2003 6:49:44 AM PST by Xthe17th (FREE THE STATES. Repudiate the 17th amendment!)
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