Oil and Gas

Total SA Targeting 4 Percent Oil Production Growth

French oil major Total SA said Wednesday it is targeting average production growth of 4 percent per year between 2006 and 2010.

Total said it expects sustained growth after 2010, based on its 25 "giant assets," which include the Shtokman joint venture with Russia's OAO Gazprom, the company said on its Web site.

The company's capital expenditure program for 2007 is in line with its target of about US$16 billion (euro11.8 billion).

Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie said the company expects production in 2007 to increase by "a few percentage points" compared to 2006.

The company is waiting for several projects to come on line before it makes a precise forecast, but the increase could be between 1.5 percent and 2 percent, De Margerie said.

Total is also hoping for a swift resolution to the dispute over the Kashagan oil field between the consortium developing the field and the Kazakh authorities, he said.

Talks need to resume "as soon as possible with the authorities," Margerie said, adding that he didn't want "politics" to enter the discussions.

"I'm prepared to go there myself," Margerie said. "I'm not going to let the matter lie."

Last week, Kazakh officials ordered operations at Kashagan suspended and the Finance Ministry announced a criminal investigation, signaling growing unhappiness with delays at the project, which is led by Italian oil giant Eni SpA.

The move against the developer of the Kashagan field came after months of warnings by government officials against the Eni-led consortium, which also includes Total as well as Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell PLC and others.