BRUSSELS, November 7 (RIA Novosti) — French energy giant Total has no plans to cease cooperation with Russia's Lukoil, but has temporarily stopped working on joint projects subject to the western economic sanctions against Moscow, the company's CEO Patrick Pouyanne told RIA Novosti Friday.
"No," Pouyanne said in response to a question on whether Total is planning to stop cooperating with Lukoil. "We cannot use the technologies to explore shelf oil so it [cooperation with Lukoil] is not stopped completely it's just suspended. We are committed to Russia, we have big investments there but we are obliged also to observe existing rules. That's life," Pouyanne said.
Pouyanne added that his company is discussing the current situation with Lukoil and that he is planning to visit Moscow soon.
Late in May, the French company and Russia's Lukoil signed an agreement stipulating the creation of a joint enterprise to develop the Bazhenov Formation in West Siberia. But amid the western economic sanctions imposed against Russia over its alleged role in the Ukrainian conflict, Total had to suspend the cooperation. The latest round of European sanctions imposed in September banned the provision of technical and other assistance to Russian companies for oil exploration and production.
Patrick Pouyanne has been appointed as the director general of the French oil giant Total after his predecessor CEO Christophe de Margerie died at Vnukovo-3 Airport, Moscow where his Falcon 50 business jet was involved in an accident. The incident happened when the aircraft, which was to fly to Paris, hit a snow removal vehicle when taking off. De Margerie was the only passenger on board along with three crew members, also French citizens, who also died in the crash.