Skip to comments.Total says will not be shut out of Iraq contracts
Posted on 04/22/2003 12:08:48 AM PDT by kattracks
PARIS, April 22 (Reuters) - French oil giant TotalFinaElf does not expect to be frozen out of oil contracts in Iraq despite France's tough opposition to the U.S.-led war, the firm's chief of exploration and production said on Tuesday.
In an interview with Le Figaro newspaper, Christophe de Margerie dismissed rumours Total was on a "black list" of firms that would be denied lucrative contracts in post-war Iraq, although stressed the firm remained vigilant.
"Of course, we remain extremely vigilant over the evolution of the situation, but our recent meetings, and there has been many of them, with our American industrial colleagues, do not give us the feeling of this kind of tight grip," Margerie said when asked if the United States would grab all the oil contracts.
He denied any hostility in talks with U.S. authorities over the reconstruction of Iraq's oil wells, and said talks had intensified in recent weeks.
Earlier this month Iraqi exiles and senior U.S. officials agreed that international oil companies should take a leading post-war role in reviving Iraq's oil industry, and Total Chief Executive Thierry Desmaret has said the firm stands a good chance of gaining a slice of the pie.
France's staunch anti-war stance sparked calls in the United States to boycott French goods and cranked up fears French oil, engineering and construction firms could be denied access to contracts in post-war Iraq.
Margerie also said production in Iraq, whose reserves are the world's second largest, could not restart until some basic reconstruction of the oil infrastructure was undertaken, and that this would probably take several weeks or even months.
((Reporting by Rebecca Harrison
Hasn't he heard "Punish France, ignore Germany, and forgive Russia" ? Or is he feigning ignorance, fearing that any confirmation will bring down the stock price of his company ?