Source AP ©

Oil and gas giant Total SA to continue its operations in Myanmar

French oil and gas giant Total SA has increased vigilance of its employees in Myanmar amid mounting unrest.

A spokeswoman for the company told Dow Jones Newswires that Total had no intention of leaving because a "forced retreat" would open the way for competitors to take its place. She would not give her name, according to company policy.

The military junta that rules Myanmar has escalated its efforts over the past two days to repress pro-democracy demonstrations led by thousands of Buddhist monks.

Total is one of several foreign companies, including U.S. Unocal and Chinese and Indian competitors, with exploration and production activities in Myanmar, which has vast reserves of oil and natural gas.

Total has been producing 17.4 million cubic meters of natural gas per day from its Myanmar wells, according to statistics posted on the company's Web site.

Total has contingency plans for protecting, or evacuating, employees in all of its projects around the globe, the spokeswoman said. But she declined to comment on the plan in place for Myanmar.

The company has "increased vigilance" of security of its employees in the country, she said.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday urged greater international sanctions against Myanmar and urged French businesses - including Total, France's biggest company by market capitalization and revenue - to restrain from new investment in the country.

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