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Oil Major Total Withdraws From API Over Climate Policy Differences

Total will not renew its membership in the American Petroleum Institute (API) for 2021 due to divergences with the main U.S. oil lobby over climate policies, the French oil and gas supermajor said on Friday.

For 2019 and 2020, Total found API’s positions “partially aligned” to its own, but some divergences remain. Those include API’s support for the rollback of U.S. regulation on methane emissions, which Total opposed in November 2019, and API’s membership in the Transportation Fairness Alliance, which is opposed to electric vehicles subsidies. The API also has differing positions than those of Total regarding carbon pricing.

“Moreover, API gave its support during the recent elections to candidates who argued against the United States’ participation in the Paris Agreement,” Total said in a statement.

“As part of our Climate Ambition made public in May 2020, we are committed to ensuring, in a transparent manner, that the industry associations of which we are a member adopt positions and messages that are aligned with those of the Group in the fight against climate change”, Total’s chairman and CEO Patrick Pouyanné said.  

Total is betting on profitably growing its liquefied natural gas (LNG) and renewable businesses as part of its new strategy and net-zero agenda.  

Related: Goldman Sachs Warns Of Bullish Perfect Storm For Natural Gas

Pouyanné told French newspaper Le Parisien in September that the firm aims to be among the world’s top five producers of renewable energy. The company’s operations mix today is 55 percent oil, 40 percent gas, and less than 5 percent electricity from renewables, Pouyanné said, noting that in 2050, Total’s operations will be divided into 20 percent oil, 40 percent gas, and 40 percent renewable energy.

Total is not the only Europe-based oil supermajor to have quit major American oil lobbies over differences in climate policies.

Last year, BP quit three U.S. energy trade associations, the main refining lobby group, the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), the Western Energy Alliance (WEA), and the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), after finding in an in-depth review that those three associations don’t have climate policies aligned to BP’s goals and its support to the Paris Agreement. A year earlier, Shell quit the refining lobby because of ‘material misalignment’ in climate-related positions.

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