TOTAL VP Reiterates position against sanctions on Russia

By Ekaterina Pokrovskaya - OGE Dubai Correspondent, November 20, 2014

TOTAL Senior Vice President on Strategy and Business Intelligence, Mrs. Helle Kristoffersen, stressed the importance of addressing Europe’s gas supply amidst the current crisis between Russia and Ukraine , speaking on the session panel on Global Energy Security, Supply and Demand at the Abu-Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference on November 12, 2014. Kristoffersen said energy security has been long neglected on the European energy agenda and gas security takes high priority among strategic issues in Europe now.

One-third of Europe’s gas comes from Russia and 50 per cent of this volume comes in transit via Ukraine.

“There is a huge risk of collective damage for Europe if the crisis between Ukraine and Russia should get worse”, -stated the Vice President.

Kristoffersen shared with the audience a presentation of a theoretical scenario of actions that Europe could resort to should Ukraine interrupt Russian gas transit.

“The latest news is positive as Russia and Ukraine appear to have managed to come to an agreement for the upcoming winter. But I wanted to present here a likely scenario which we in TOTAL ran nine months ago on what Europe could do to manage a case of energy crisis”, - she said.

According to the Vice President, Europe can do without the Ukrainian transit pipeline for Russian gas, but this solution would require the following four types of action:

1. Maximize the Russian gas coming through routes other than Ukraine
2. Maximize the flexibility provided by the available gas storage capacities in Europe, as the storage tanks are full right now
3. Create gas supply introduction from domestic fields in Europe and also from Norway, and
4. Increase LNG imports.

Kristoffersen said implementing such an action plan “would require a huge political and commercial effort and a strong cooperation with Russia's Gazprom to route the Russian gas through the Northern pipeline.” 

“The European Union would need to make sure that all the countries act more on behalf of the global energy security concern rather than their national interests. So, essentially all the European countries would have to share the burden of the risk,” Kristoffersen said.

She stressed TOTAL’s commitment to free trade and debate of policies.

“We in TOTAL are against sanctions and bans when it comes to trade agreements. We do not believe that current sanctions on Russia are the right approach; we think it is important to keep the strategic dialogue going as an option. And with regards to a different topic (Iran, but that is my guess, as she did not use the word Iran itself), we do not support initiatives that include any kind of ban on certain kinds of crude," she said.
She also emphasized the importance of addressing global energy security issues by the key oil and gas market players worldwide in an open international dialog.

“We believe that energy accessibility is a chief component of the energy security. The international dialogue on energy security must address the requirements and expectations that are put on us