Total Eyeing Rosneft's Kurmangazy Stake in the Caspian Sea

Total SA is in talks with Russia's state-owned OAO Rosneft to buy a slice of the Caspian Sea's Kurmangazy oil field, a person familiar with the situation said Monday.

Kurmangazy is a formerly disputed field that is now jointly owned by Kazakh producer Kazmunaygaz and Rosneft, under an agreement between Kazakhstan and Russia in 2002.

By the end of last year, Total had agreed with Kazmunaygaz to buy a 10% stake in the project, sources said. Total also has an option for the another 15% of Kazakhstan's share, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Kazakhstan wants to attract Total as a strategic investor to finance the Kazakh share in the project, the source said. Rosneft is now also considering a proposal from Total to buy part of the Russian share in Kurmangazy on the same conditions, said the source, who didn't specify how large this stake would be.

Spokesmen at both Rosneft and Total declined to comment. Total has also so far declined to confirm any agreement with Kazmunaygaz.

Total is already involved in one of the largest Caspian projects, the giant offshore field of Kashagan, where it has a 20.37% stake.