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Supermajor Total wants to stop selling fuel oil—one of the most carbon-intensive refinery products—for power generation in order to reduce its carbon footprint, the company’s chief executive Patrick Pouyanné told Reuters in an interview published on Friday.
This is the latest attempt from an oil and gas major to cut its carbon footprint as the French company aims to be known as an energy company rather than oil and gas major.
According to Total’s data cited by Reuters, fuel oil represented about 5 percent of the company’s total production of refined oil products in 2018.
Total’s marketing division is considering the idea to stop selling fuel oil for power generation, a spokesman for the company told Reuters.
Reducing the carbon footprint fits in Total’s ambition to reduce the carbon intensity of the energy products it makes available to customers by 15 percent between 2015 — the date of the Paris Agreement — and 2030.
Other majors are also pledging reductions in carbon emissions. Last week, Equinor unveiled a plan to reduce the net carbon intensity, from initial production to final consumption, of energy produced by at least 50 percent by 2050.
Shell has also set short-term targets for reducing the net carbon footprint of the energy products it sells.
In the latest pledge from an oil major, BP said on Wednesday that it aims to become a net zero company by 2050 or sooner.
Total, for its part, wants to be known as a ‘global energy company’, much like Equinor has been doing since it dropped the name Statoil.
Improving energy efficiency, growing in natural gas, developing a low-carbon electricity business, sustainable biofuels, and investing in carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technology are Total’s key pillars of integrating climate in its strategy.
In just two weeks, Total announced several renewables and batteries projects, from a pilot plant to manufacture European batteries for electric vehicles, to entering the Spanish solar market to develop nearly 2 gigawatts (GW) of solar projects, to expanding its partnership in India’s renewables market.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.
Let us hope then that their real motivation is keen interest in getting involved in clean energy solutions rather than an attempt to burnish their environmental credentials in the face of the pressure exerted on them by divestment campaigners and environmental activists.
The CEO of the global oil giant ‘Shell’ recently rebuked these groups by saying that while Big Oil will continue to invest heavily in clean energy solutions, neither the global economy nor Big Oil will change course on oil and natural gas until it makes financial sense. Until this happens, it is not oil and gas assets that could be stranded during the 21st century and beyond, it is the renewables. The legendary Bill Gates also recently struck a similar note when he rebuked divestment campaigners for talking without offering proper solutions.
Whilst wanting to stop selling fuel oil for power generation is a step in the right direction, Total should also enhance its investment in natural gas and LNG and sever any investment it may still have in coal. In so doing it will be helping accelerate global energy transition.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London