Unrest not affecting Total's Libyan output
PARIS (Reuters) - Unrest in Libya is not affecting Total's energy production, said a top executive at the French major which is confident about the future of the group's assets in the Arab region despite widening political turmoil.
After Tunisia's and Egypt's revolutions, anti-government protests in OPEC member Libya have stoked concern that widespread unrest in the region could hurt energy supply, pushing oil prices to a 2-1/2 year high over $105 a barrel.
But Total strategy chief Jean-Jacques Mosconi told Reuters he did not see political turmoil affecting Total's 55,000 barrel per day Libya output or its business elsewhere in the region. The French group produces 2.3 million barrels per day worldwide.
"There is absolutely no impact on production," Mosconi said in an interview at Total's headquarters.
"Regardless of how the (Libyan) regime develops, and we are not speculating on this, the regime in charge absolutely needs international oil companies," he said.
"This is particularly the case in a country like Libya where you have many mature fields and still a lot of potential for exploration and developments... Whatever the regime, one will need international groups to develop the country's potential."
Mosconi said the group's output was not affected in Libya or neighboring Algeria -- a key gas exporter where protesters gathered in the capital on Saturday -- and that Total was not worried about its business in the Middle East.
"There is a new wind blowing across the region," he said, adding: "It's difficult to imagine a similar situation in Saudi Arabia because this is a wealthy country with a population that has benefited of this wealth so it seems more stable."
In Yemen, where protesters are demanding an end to President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 32-year rule, Mosconi said Total was already used to "living with instability and insecurity."
"We have no particular concern (in Yemen) on production and on our liquefied natural gas plant," he said, adding Total was currently studying exploration on new blocks.
(Editing by Keiron Henderson)
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Protesters respond to calls to defend their demonstration from possible police intervention. Slideshow