UPDATE 1-Total lifts stake in Ichthys gas project to 30 pct

Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:57am EDT

* Total to raise stake from 24 pct

* No financial details given of additional stake (Adds detail, executive comment)

PARIS, July 12 (Reuters) - French oil group Total has increased its stake in the $34 billion Ichthys liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Australia to 30 pct from 24 percent, the company said on Thursday.

Total had said previously it would raise its interest in the project to 30 percent this year after reaching agreement with partner Inpex Corp to buy an additional stake.

The French group, which did not disclose the cost of buying the further 6 percent, said the deal would not have any impact on agreements already struck to sell the entire annual output of 8.4 million tonnes from Ichthys for 15 years.

"This (deal) further enhances our presence in Australia and our position as supplier in the Asian LNG market," Yves-Louis Darricarrere, president of Total Exploration and Production, was quoted as saying in a company statement.

The acquisition of the additional stake in Ichthys remains subject to regulatory approvals, Total added. (Reporting by Gus Trompiz; Editing by James Regan)

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