French oil company Total says it expects onshore production to start in Libya early next year and it was not renegotiating oil contracts with the new government after late leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown, a senior company official said.
Jacques Marraud des Grottes, Total's senior vice-president Africa, also said the company will start paying taxes as crude output rose and was not doing so currently. "It's coming. You first have to produce and then you will pay tax," he told journalists on the sidelines of an African oil conference. Asked if onshore production could start in the first quarter of 2012, Des Grottes said: "Yes".
He added that investment into Africa, which accounts for almost a third of Total's overall oil production, would be higher next year than the $6 billion invested in 2011. "We certainly have large developments to come so certainly investment will stay at a rather high level and will certainly slightly increase (from $6 billion in 2011)," Des Grottes said.