French contractors forging new links with NOC decision-takers.

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      This article focuses on personnel changes in the organization GEP, promoting the interests of French oil and gas contractors and suppliers. New President Dominique Michel is a well-known figure in the offshore sector, having served for 20 years as chairman and CEO of Doris Engineering, and today chairman of the board. GEP's new General Manager Director Claude Berbigier joined in January from the Institut Francais du Petrole--his record previously includes 15 years with Total on production-related assignments in the Arabian Gulf, China, and London. Among the duo's priorities are building a presence in the Former Soviet Union where French contractors, particularly small to mid-size companies--are struggling to make inroads. Historically, the French service sector has been strong in the Middle East, and GEPs management is keen to develop relations further. For some of GEP's members, the annual oil, Gas, and Petrochemicals exhibition in Tehran has become very important.