Total Plans To Expand Kazakhstan Presence

The third largest of the European oil companies, Total Fina Elf, plans to expand exploration in Kazakhstan's sector of the Caspian Sea, boosting its bet on a region with enough oil alone to supply the world for three years.

Total Chairman Thierry Desmarest arrived in Almaty, Kazakhstan's financial capital, for talks with the government about at least three offshore fields, Kurmangazy, Tsentralnaya and Zhanbai, said Marat Mukhamedsaliyev, a spokesman for the state owned Kazmunaigaz. Total confirmed the report.

Total is competing with rivals including ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch/Shell, the world's top two oil companies, to tap Caspian offshore fields that hold an estimated seventy billion barrels of oil reserves. Foreign oil companies have already invested more than five billion dollars into Kazakhstan.

“These projects have good prospects and are located in a region with a developed infrastructure,” said Dmitri Avdeev, an analyst at the Moscow based United Financial Group.

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