As I watch the world's integrated oil companies, I become more and more intrigued by Motley Fool Income Investor selection Total
Total is Europe's third-largest oil and gas producer, behind Royal Dutch Shell
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
Beyond that, the Qatargas 2 liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, with ExxonMobil
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.
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.