Total to Acquire 25% Stake in Russian Gas Company Novatek

Total has signed an agreement setting out the terms of the Group's plan to purchase a 25% stake plus one share in the Russian company OAO Novatek.

Novatek, created in 1994, operates three major gas fields - Tarkosale East, Khanchey and Yurkharov - with production of around 18 billion cubic meters of gas in 2003 (approximately 1.8 billion cubic feet per day), up nearly 50% from the previous year. These fields, of which the last two entered into production in 2003, are located in the main gas region of Russia, Yamalo-Nenets (Western Siberia), and represent proved and probable reserves of approximately 4 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

The documents relating to the acquisition of this stake holding in Novatek have been submitted to Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service for authorization.

"This partnership with Novatek will allow Total to increase its production and reserves of hydrocarbons and marks a further step in its strategy of participating in the development of Russian resources," declared Thierry Desmarest, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Total.

"Novatek is a young company with new production facilities and significant reserves. Total will bring its expertise in the field of production, transport and processing hydrocarbons, which will assure, within the best conditions, ongoing growth in hydrocarbon production and the construction of new process installations on Russian soil", added Mr. Desmarest.