Total CEO worried about Ukraine conflict

JOUY-EN-JOSAS, France Thu Aug 28, 2014 12:18pm EDT

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JOUY-EN-JOSAS, France Aug 28 (Reuters) - The chief executive of French oil major Total said on Thursday he was worried about the conflict in Ukraine and said any impact on the group's activities would depend on how the situation evolves.

Ukraine accused Russia on Thursday of bringing troops into the southeast of the country in support of pro-Moscow separatist rebels.

Asked if tensions in the area had any impact on Total's projects in Russia, De Margerie said: "Not for the moment, but ... when we see the current trend of increasing sanctions, at the European or American level, we can't be very confident, obviously, about the situation."

The oil company had forecast in April that Russia would become its biggest source of oil and gas by 2020 thanks to its partnership with Russia's Novatek and their $27 billion Yamal LNG project in Siberia.

The group said last month it had stopped buying shares in Novatek when a Malaysian airliner was shot down over Ukraine, allegedly by separatists, and was reviewing the impact of European and American sanctions on its Russian projects.

"I always am optimistic. I hope people will understand that you have to move before we come to extremes that would be regrettable," De Margerie added, speaking on the sidelines of the annual conference of business lobby group Medef. (Reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by David Holmes)

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