Sarkozy gets credit for Total-Gazprom deal

13th July 2007, Comments 0 comments

MOSCOW, July 13, 2007 (AFP) - A deal to allow French company Total help develop Russia's giant Shtokman gas field was sealed by a phone call between the French and Russian presidents, Russia's top business dailies reported Friday.

MOSCOW, July 13, 2007 (AFP) - A deal to allow French company Total help develop Russia's giant Shtokman gas field was sealed by a phone call between the French and Russian presidents, Russia's top business dailies reported Friday.

"A telephone conversation between Vladimir Putin and Nicolas Sarkozy ensured Total's participation in developing Shtokman," business daily Kommersant said in a front-page headline.

On Thursday Russian gas monopoly Gazprom chose Total to help develop the field, which is large enough to meet total world gas demand for one year.

The Vedomosti daily cited two sources "close to Gazprom's management" as saying that the decision was sealed by a conversation between the two presidents. A Sarkozy spokesman confirmed to the daily that Shtokman was discussed during Wednesday's telephone conversation between the two leaders.

Several analysts linked the deal to the wider state of Russian-French relations, with Vedomosti citing a Moscow-based analyst as saying the deal was an "advance" for France's opposition to new EU energy directives.

Under Thursday's deal Total is to receive 25 percent of a joint company that will develop the project's first phase.

Gazprom will retain at least 51 percent of the company, plus total ownership of the development license and "all of the extracted hydrocarbons," the state-owned company said in a statement.

The deal is "Total's first serious achievement in Russia, where for several years it has met failure," Kommersant wrote.

The deal is due to be signed in Moscow on Friday.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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