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French Senate Wants ‘Golden Share’ In TotalEnergies for National Interest

A French Senate report released on Wednesday is calling on the government to scoop up a “golden” share in giant TotalEnergies in an attempt to gain a strategic veto on issues related to climate change and any notion the company may have of relocating to American shores. 

A “golden share” is a reference to the French’s government’s legal right to acquire one share in any domestic company for reasons of strategic national interest and then convert that share into a golden share that can veto company actions if deemed necessary for the country. 

The Senate report follows a statement last month by TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanné that the company was looking into the potential for a primary listing in New York, though he emphasized at the time that the company would not abandon France, Reuters reported in May. 

The Senate commission of inquiry, which conducted over 40 hearings to determine whether the energy giant was aligned with national climate goals, examined “the mobilized and mobilizable means by the State to ensure compliance by TotalEnergies with climate obligations and of the orientations of France's foreign policy”. 

The Senate report recommended that the government acquire what it referred to as a “golden share” in TotalEnergies, but recognized that the French giant’s energy transition efforts were “higher than those carried out by the other hydrocarbon ‘majors’, particularly the Anglo-Saxons.” The report claimed that TotalEnergies was responsible for only 1.2% of global oil production per day in 2023 and noted that 3% of its final energy production “concerned renewable electricity”, while 35% of its net investments were in low-carbon energies that same year. 

The Senate report’s fate remains uncertain at this time, with snap elections set to take place in France in two rounds on June 30 and July 7. French President Emmanuel Macron called snap elections, with his far-right rival, Jordan Bardellau, gunning for future prime minister and calling on voters for a clear majority. Macron’s bloc is currently lagging behind the far-right in polls, France24 reported.

TotalEnergies has not officially commented on the Senate report as of the time of writing.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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