Total CEO Christophe de Margerie Killed In Plane Accident In Moscow

Total CEO Christophe de Margerie

The CEO of Europe’s third-largest oil company has died in a plane accident in Russia.

Reuters reported that Christophe de Margerie was killed in an airplane accident at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport, airport spokeswoman Elena Krylova said on Tuesday.

“Tonight, a plane crashed when it collided with a snow-clearing machine. Three crew members and a passenger died. I can confirm that the passenger was Total’s head de Margerie,” she said.

According to Bloomberg, three other persons were boarded on the jet. The report confirmed that all four passengers including de Margerie were French citizens.

A biography profile of the Total CEO on its website outlines his rise in the company.

“Christophe de Margerie joined Total after graduating from the École Supérieure de Commerce in Paris in 1974. He served in several positions in the Group’s Finance Department and Exploration & Production division. He became President of Total Middle East in 1995 before joining the Group’s Executive Committee as the President of the Exploration & Production division in May 1999. He then became Senior Executive Vice President of Exploration & Production of the new TotalFinaElf group in 2000. In January 2002 he became President of the Exploration & Production division of Total. He was appointed a member of the Board of Directors by the Shareholders’ Meeting held on May 12, 2006 and became Chief Executive Officer of Total on February 14, 2007. He was appointed Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Total on May 21, 2010.”

The 63-year-old CEO has defended the use of hydraulic fracturing for shale gas exploration in the South of France.

According to The Inquisitr, the use of fracturing as an exploration method has been disputed because of claims that it causes contamination of drinking water through increased injection of methane gas.

In a BBC interview, de Margerie expressed support for fracking to unlock gas reserves from underground, which the French government has said it will not allow because of environmental concerns. He also went on to say it is up to politicians to deal with such issues as climate change, and if they want to see more renewables then the price of energy for the consumer will go up.

A number of other oil companies have been fighting a ban on fracking imposed by the French government. The BBC reported that France’s constitutional council last year rejected an attempt to overturn the ban on fracking.

Given Christophe de Margerie’s status, one can expect investigations into the circumstances surrounding his death.

[Photo Credit: Reuters/Benoit Tessier]