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Christophe de Margerie killed in Moscow jet collision

21st October 2014

The chief executive officer of Total, Christophe de Margerie, died in an accident in Moscow last night as his business jet collided with a snowplough vehicle and was engulfed in flames when attempting to take off from Vnukovo International Airport, resulting in the death of de Margerie and the plane’s three crew members

Christophe de Margerie killed in Moscow jet collision
De Margerie was a firm believer in maintaining strong business ties with Russia despite international diplomatic pressures, with Total planning to double its output from Russian fields by 2020. Picture courtesy: MEDEF

All four people on board his corporate jet were killed when it collided with a snowplough and caught alight just before midnight last night.

"Total confirms with deep regret and great sadness that Chairman and CEO Christophe de Margerie died just after 10pm (Paris time) on October 20 in a private plane crash at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, following a collision with a snow removal machine," the company said in a statement.

Russian investigators have reported that the driver of the snow plough was drunk and visibility at the airport was poor.

De Margerie, 63, had worked at Total for 40 years and been the French energy giant’s chief executive since 2007.

"France is losing an extraordinary business leader who turned Total into a world giant," French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said in a statement.

De Margerie had just left a meeting with Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev at his Gorki residence on the outskirts of Moscow, where they had discussed bilateral trade and the continued development of Russia’s oil and gas industry.

De Margerie was a firm believer in maintaining strong business ties with Russia despite international diplomatic pressures, with Total planning to double its output from Russian fields by 2020.

Last montth Total said that it would continue work at its USD 27bn Yamal LNG project joint venture with Novatek depite international sanctions.

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