As I watch the world's integrated oil companies, I become more and more intrigued by Motley Fool Income Investor selection Total (NYSE:TOT). And while the company has struggled somewhat to maintain its production this year, nothing its representatives said at a Mid-Year Outlook presentation in London on Wednesday altered my mid- and long-term opinion about its prospects.

Total is Europe's third-largest oil and gas producer, behind Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS-A) and BP (NYSE:BP). It has been hindered by quota cuts by the OPEC nations -- where it generates about a third of its output -- as the cartel members seek to maintain global crude prices. As a result, its production levels in 2009 are expected to be "flattish" with the prior year, but to increase in 2010, with several new projects onstream.

Indeed, 2009 was hardly a disaster for the company, from the perspective of project additions. It chalked up five successful production start-ups for the year, including the Akpo oilfield offshore Nigeria, which became productive in March, while the Tahiti venture in the Gulf of Mexico -- which it shares with Chevron (NYSE:CVX) and StatoilHydro (NYSE:STO) -- began producing in May.

Beyond that, the Qatargas 2 liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, with ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) and Qatar Petroleum as partners, began producing earlier this month. And finally, the Tombua-Landana field off the Angola coast came on stream last week. But lest you think Total has exhausted itself in terms of new output, four other major projects are set to start up over the next two or three years, in places like Kazakhstan and offshore from West Africa.

At the same time, Total intends to spend about $18 billion in capital expenditures this year, and to put a substantial effort into additional LNG programs. It seems that we've heard about the potential of gas liquefaction for years, but the technology's just now beginning to realize its potential. Total expects LNG to grow by 7% per year through the next decade, and to be especially important to Asia.

In addition to its operating successes, Total sports a balance sheet with $20 billion in cash, so its dividend appears safe. Further, the company expects its 2010 cash flow to benefit from the 2009 start-ups.

As I indicated above, I find Total intriguing and well worth attention. With crude prices working their way upward, I'd urge Fools to spend the appropriate time to get to know this solid French company.

Total is a proud member of the Motley Fool CAPS five-star set. Does this top-of-the-line rating include your assessment of the company?

Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned above. He welcomes your comments. StatoilHydro ASA and Total SA are Motley Fool Income Investor selections. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Fool's disclosure policy runs on clean, renewable integrity.