A Total spokesman tells MEED that the group’s chief executive officer, Christophe de Margerie, is holding talks in the next few days with the Petroleum & Mineral Resources Ministry to strengthen its exploration footprint.

“We are finalising talks with Syria on the extension of an oil and gas production permit at Deir El Zour,” a Total spokesman says.

Total is thought to be looking to renew its existing production-sharing agreement on the concession, which is due to expire in 2011, for a further 10 years.

Current output from the field is estimated at 63,000-barrels-a-day (b/d).

De Margerie is in Syria as part of the delegation attached to French President Nicholas Sarkozy’s official visit.