De Margerie the first to warn of oil price slump

Total’s former CEO was the first to signal the slump in oil prices said the company’s president of E&P at ADIPEC yesterday

Arnaud Breuillac has head Total's E&P since January this year.
Arnaud Breuillac has head Total's E&P since January this year.

Christophe de Margerie, Total’s former CEO, was the first CEO of a major oil company to foresee the drop of oil prices, said Arnaud Breuillac, President of Exploration and Production at a press briefing on the first day of the annual Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference.

Paying a tribute to de Margerie, who was killed in a plane accident in Russia last month, Breuillac said: “Abu Dhabi has a special place in Christophe’s heart, who was always very pleased to come here on many occasions for Total.”

“September a year ago, Christophe de Margerie was the first CEO of a major oil company to signal that the industry was facing a problem with the price of oil dropping since 2011 and the cost of producing oil increasing.

“He said that we have to do something about this and what he was referring to was working and spending money better,” he added.

Following the drop of oil prices, which stayed below $83 per barrel on Monday, Breuillac said Total’s approach to dealing with the current market slump is by planning adopting reasonable spending plan.

“At times when the oil price is lower this certainly fosters our determination to apply strict capital discipline for new projects,” he said.

Total’s investment budget will not be affected from the strict capital spending plan with projects are set to continue work as normal.

“We have a lot of projects ongoing and all of these projects will continue and increase our production by 30% by 2017 compared to the first half of this year,” said Breuillac.

He also added that Total is prepared to ensure new projects go in the pipeline to guarantee good supply, should the oil to stay at around $80 a barrel mid to long term.

“We consider that $100 dollar per barrel was a good level to ensure that there will be a continuous supply of projects in the future so that the balance between supply and demand would be preserved.

“The $80 per barrel that we have had for the past few weeks is making this requirement even stronger but we don’t think the price will stay at that level for very long,” he added.

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