(recasts with Total denial)
NEW YORK/PARIS, March 18 (Reuters) - Chinese authorities have not taken a new stake in France’s Total, a source from the oil and gas company said on Sunday, denying a report in the online edition of The Wall Street Journal.
The Journal, citing an interview with Total’s chief executive, Christophe de Margerie, said the company had reached a pact with China’s Sinopec to search for and produce shale gas, and that China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange now owned 2 percent of the French group.
Total’s CEO would not have “any problem” if sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp wanted to take a further stake, the report said.
“The Chinese have not taken a stake in Total since April 2008,” a source at Total told Reuters, adding, “There’s nothing new.”
The Chinese took a 2 percent stake in Total at that time. (Reporting By Nick Zieminski and Muriel Boselli; Editing by Leslie Adler)