Total Executive: Won't Yet Take Legal Action Vs Venezuela

PARIS, Apr 07, 2006 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex)

French oil major Total SA (TOT) won't yet resort to legal action against the Venezuelan state, its exploration and production chief, Christophe de Margerie, said Friday.

De Margerie was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the international oil summit in Paris.

Venezuela recently took control of the Total-operated Jusepin oil field after the company refused to change the field's profit-sharing structure.

"Legal action should be the last resort," de Magerie said. "Negotiating in a court room is not the Total way," he said, adding that Total intends to continue discussions with the Venezuelan state to reach an agreement.

De Margerie said Total's employees continue to work on the Jusepin field.

Regarding Total's Russian developments, de Margerie said Total still hopes to be chosen by Gazprom OAO (GSPBEX.RS) as one of the international majors which will jointly operate the Russian Shtokman field.

A Russian press report recently said that Total wouldn't be chosen, citing anonymous government sources.

The giant Shtokman field is located in the Barents sea off the northern Russian coast.

Russian authorities said they will unveil the names of two or three winners in mid-April.

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