PARIS, July 5 French water and waste group Veolia Environnement said on Friday it sees sales in its oil and gas services business rising to as much as 5 billion euros ($6.5 billion) in the next four to five years from 1 billion now.
Veolia, whose activities include managing water in oil wells, dismantling offshore platforms and cleaning storage tanks, is particularly keen to target the shale gas industry, Chief Executive Antoine Frerot said.
"The oil and gas industry is seeing rapid growth," Frerot told reporters at a briefing on Friday. "The ... sector will go faster than others, and the billion we have today will be more like 4 to 5 billion ... in line with our four-year goals."
The change in focus to the oil and gas sector is part of Veolia's strategy to raise its presence in emerging markets and win more business from industrial clients who account for 30 percent of its 25 billion euros in annual sales.
It wants to increase that to half by 2018. Its other revenue comes mainly from municipal authorities that buy water and waste services.
In addition to the oil and gas sector, Veolia is targeting 10 percent annual growth in the next four to five years at its toxic waste unit, which has turnover of about 800 million euros.
The business includes recycling lithium from batteries, vanadium from industrial catalysts and the solvents used to dilute car paint.
Veolia has meanwhile been withdrawing from half the countries it operates in and selling assets - unwinding a decade of geographic expansion and acquisitions - to reduce its 10 billion euros of debt. ($1 = 0.7744 euros) (Reporting by Benjamin Mallet; Editing by Louise Ireland)