Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Europe Has No Foreign Policy, but Total Does

Christophe de Margerie, the CEO of the oil company Total, was killed yesterday when his airplane struck a snowplow on a Moscow runway, The accident throws an interesting light on Western threats to impose sanctions on Russia. Le Monde reveals that Margerie was in Moscow to discuss Total's investments. The firm's "ambition is to make Russia its primary zone of hydrocarbon production by 2020. Total is counting on Russia in order to compensate for decreased output in the North Sea."

The EU may not have a foreign policy, but Total does.


Mitch Guthman said...

I would like to make one small observation that will no doubt expose me as a foolish lefty who doesn’t understand how business is done: Why exactly would Total want to invest so heavily in a country with a joke of a legal system and a political system that can be charitably described as a nightmarish mafia state in which a man owns only what he can defend without any help from civil society? If past is truly prologue, the experiences of BP/Shell and Gazprom suggest that once Total has sunk it money into exploration and bringing in new wells, Putin or some other well connected gangster/oligarch will just take it for himself and his gang?

Seen in that light, could somebody please explain to me why the chattering classes are always bleating on about how we need more “businessmen” and “business expertise” in government? Again, if experience is any guide, Total's "foreign policy" doesn't seem like it was crafted by the brightest of bulbs.

Alessandro Sassoon said...

I wonder if the "investments" are in Arctic Ocean oil. Total and Norway's Statoil have been looking north with Gazprom as the Arctic Ice recedes. While Russia's legal system may be "a joke," Putin makes business happen, especially with Gazprom. Unlike the other state powers in the Arctic, Russia has a strategy.