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Cablegate: Turkmenistan's Hydrocarbons: Total Joins the Rush

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DE RUEHAH #0769 2140935
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 020935Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9102
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RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC//DHO-2/REA/NMJIC-J2//
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC

UNCLAS ASHGABAT 000769

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, EUR/CARC, EEB

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV ECON EPET EINV FR TX
SUBJECT: TURKMENISTAN'S HYDROCARBONS: TOTAL JOINS THE RUSH


1. (U) Sensitive but unclassified. Not for public Internet.

2. (U) Olivier Bouygues, Vice President of French
construction firm Bouygues, Senior Bouygues Vice President
Aldo Karbonaro, and Yves-Louis Darricarrere, the president
for exploration and production of the French hydrocarbons
company, Total, met with President Berdimuhamedov July 30.

3. (U) According to press reports, Bouyges introduced Total
as a "long-standing partner" with whom it could successfully
work as a team in Turkmenistan. Although the two French
companies reportedly did not propose any specific projects,
they said Total "would be content with any form of
cooperation with Turkmenistan." Berdimuhamedov noted that
Turkmenistan is always open for mutually advantageous
cooperation with old and new potential partners.

4. (SBU) Embassy Ashgabat local staff watching the state
television news presentation of the meeting said that
Darricarrere seemed uncertain of his role in the meeting --
almost as if it were Bouyges, rather than Total, who was
romancing Berdimuhamedov and who might have been seeking to
reestablish the Bouyges hydrocarbons exploration branch that
it closed several years ago.

5. (SBU) COMMENT: As one of the long-standing most-favored
construction companies in Turkmenistan, Bouyges would seem to
have a natural leg up in the rush for the supposed new
Klondike. But there are other players. Shell is visiting,
and some expect a major announcement. At the same time BP
has been here all week. ConocoPhillips comes next week.
A/DCM and Charge met with the BP team twice and will report
those meetings separately. END COMMENT.
HOAGLAND

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