Total's new boss promises stability after CEO death



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14/10/30  London - French energy major Total s new chief executive promised continuity at his first public appearance as Russia charged a second person over the plane crash that killed his predecessor. "My objective is mainly continuity and stability," Patrick Pouyanne said at the Oil and Money conference in London after being nominated to head up of one of the world s biggest energy companies last week. The 51-year-old s predecessor, Christophe de Margerie, was killed on October 20 along with three crew members when their private jet hit a snowplough as it was taking off from Moscow s Vnukovo Airport. Pouyanne also quoted a passage from a speech by De Margerie before his sudden death about sanctions on Russia over Ukraine in which the late Total boss said: "We are against sanctions because we believe business is a force of good". His successor added: "His position is mine". "We are a solid, strong company thanks to a staff that has shown great unity in recent days," he told reporters. "Leading a company of 100,000 people is not easy... I would have never imagined doing it without (De Margerie)," he said. De Margerie was buried at a private family funeral in France on Tuesday. Russian prosecutors on Thursday charged a second air traffic controller, Alexander Kruglov, over the crash, a day after they accused his colleague, trainee Svetlana Krivsuna, of causing multiple deaths through negligence. The two face up to five years in prison if found guilty. The driver of the snowplough and two other airport officials are also being investigated. Russia is a key market for Total, which has been operating there since 1991 and last year it accounted for production of just over 200,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Total has partnered with Russia s Novatek and China s CNPC in a project to build a giant liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in the Yamal peninsula in Siberia.

The French giant has also linked up with Gazprom to explore the giant Shtokman gas field under the Barents Sea.