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France’s Total Looks To Sell Its Stake In Kurdistan Oilfield

France’s supermajor Total is in talks to sell its 18-percent stake in an oilfield in Iraq’s semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, with which it could raise around $500 million, Bloomberg reported on Friday, quoting sources with knowledge of the plans.  

Total is working with Jefferies Group on the potential sale of its stake in the Sarsang exploration block in northern Iraqi Kurdistan, which is operated by HKN Energy, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Hillwood International Energy.

Total is looking to divest assets as it weathering this year’s oil price downturn and is preparing for the future of low-carbon energy. Total ended up with the stake in the Sarsang block after buying Maersk Oil, for which the block in the Iraqi region was a key asset.

According to Bloomberg’s sources, talks are ongoing, and no final decision on a sale has been taken yet.

While looking to sell non-core assets, Total aims to reduce emissions and become a broad energy company, like all European majors.

Total looks to grow its energy production by one third, with half the growth coming from LNG and half from electricity, mainly from renewables. 

Total’s chief executive Patrick Pouyanné told French newspaper Le Parisien in September that the firm aims to be among the world’s top five producers of renewable energy. The company’s operations mix today is 55 percent oil, 40 percent gas, and less than 5 percent electricity from renewables, Pouyanné said, noting that in 2050, Total’s operations will be divided into 20 percent oil, 40 percent gas, and 40 percent renewable energy.

Pouyanné said last week that strict investment discipline would be vital for keeping up with a 2 degree Celsius pathway.

“Our focus is on projects that can withstand low oil prices and higher carbon costs. It’s the best way to protect against the risk of stranded assets,” the executive said.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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