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International oil and gas major TOTAL S.A. (TOT - Analyst Report) has decided to shed its 15% interest in offshore Angola Block 15/06 to Sonangol E&P. TOTAL intends to concentrate more on assets (in Angola) in which it has a majority working interest. TOTAL will receive $750 million for the transfer of its interest in this block.

TOTAL’s presence in Angola goes back to 1953 and the company has gradually expanded its footprint in this African nation. Presently, the company is among the largest oil operators in Angola. The majority of TOTAL’s oil and gas production in Angola comes from Blocks 17, 0 and 14. Another large operator in the country is Chevron Corporation (CVX - Analyst Report). Chevron has a 36.4% interest in Angola LNG Limited, which will operate the country's first LNG plant.

TOTAL’s primary asset in Angola is in Block 17 with a 40% interest. In Block 32, TOTAL holds a 30% stake. Block 32 is going to be the next big thing for TOTAL in Angola, with 12 confirmed discoveries for oil production. Further studies are ongoing for a development in the central southeastern sector of this block.

The long-term strategy of the company is to have a well spread global production portfolio. TOTAL also aims to hold major interests in joint assets. This initiative gives the company the right to control the project and have the best share of the profit pie.

Such a quest has led TOTAL to add and shed assets. In the first nine month of 2013, the company acquired assets worth $2.6 billion, while its divestments brought in $4.4 billion. We expect the company to utilize the funds to further expand globally.

TOTAL has operations in more than 130 countries across five continents. Management at TOTAL is active on acquiring lucrative assets and selling off non-core properties to boost production and profitability. These strategic decisions pave the way for the best possible returns for its shareholders.

TOTAL currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Investors interested in the oil and gas industry may also consider stocks like YPF S.A. (YPF - Snapshot Report) and TransAtlantic Petroleum Ltd. (TAT - Snapshot Report). While YPF S.A. holds a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), TransAtlantic Petroleum carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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