Total to Sell $5.5b in Assets

Total to Sell $5.5b in AssetsTotal to Sell $5.5b in Assets

France’s oil and gas giant Total said it hopes to dispose of $5.5 billion worth of its minor assets this year to boost revenues at a time of depressed oil prices.

The company said it has been overproducing crude for Europe at a time when demand there has fallen by 15% since 2008, attributing the lower demand to Europe’s desire to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and the increased efficiency of new cars, OilPrice reported.

Last week, the French company announced it would sell a gas pipeline and a gas terminal in the North Sea for $905 million as part of restructuring plan that includes a reduction in investments, an increase in oil production and a cut in investment costs.

The Paris-based company is also facing strong competition from oil producers in the US who have been relying greatly on hydraulic fracturing to extract significant amounts of oil and gas from underground shale formations.

In July, Total made more than $880 million by selling a 20% stake in Laggan-Tormore, a deepwater gas field about 120 kilometers west of Scotland’s Shetland Islands. The buyer was the British energy generator SSE.

More sales may be coming. Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne said in February that his company would increase and accelerate its program to cut expenses begun by the previous CEO, Christophe de Margerie.

He said much of the cost-cutting would focus on energy fields in the North Sea, where Total has lately been investing “almost zero.”