The Senate commission of inquiry demands that the State take a stake in TotalEnergies in the name of sovereignty

Point the finger at TotalEnergies for its deleterious impact on the climate, or pamper the company so that it remains French? This is the difficult question that the senators had to ask themselves, as part of the commission of inquiry devoted to the group’s climate action and whose conclusions were released this Wednesday.

Because if, originally, this was to relate to the environmental policy of TotalEnergies and the role of the State in this matter, the announcement on April 26 by its CEO, Patrick Pouyanné, of a possible listing principal on the New York Stock Exchange, parasitized the exercise. And made the maintenance of the major in France an absolute priority… even if it means showing attachment to it.

Initiated in December by the environmental group, the commission of inquiry reveals as its main recommendation the entry of the State into the capital of TotalEnergies, through the acquisition of a specific share (or golden share). The objective: “ allow the state to object if someone wanted to transfer the main listing to New York or transform the group into an American company », Underlined its president, Senator LR Roger Karoutchi, on Wednesday. He also did not fail to add that “ TotalEnergies is a flagship which must remain so and which must contribute to the sovereignty of France ». And for good reason: the hypothesis of seeing it relocate its main listing “a makes the Senate react », Confirmed the ecologist Yannick Jadot, rapporteur of the text, during a press conference this Wednesday.

Climate: TotalEnergies targeted by a Senate report

A lenient tone

Nevertheless: the entry of the State into the capital could also make it possible to “ support the major in its energy transition efforts », We can read in the report, adopted unanimously. But on the subject, he is actually rather lenient with the group. Even though Yannick Jadot originally justified the launch of the commission of inquiry by the fact that “ TotalEnergies’ oil and gas investments are in complete contradiction with France’s climate objectives and the Paris agreement », the tone has generally changed.

Described from the outset as “ once again a strategic company to guarantee our sustainable energy sovereignty », TotalEnergies is indeed praised for its “ efforts made towards the energy transition “, Who ” are higher than those carried out by other hydrocarbon majors, particularly Anglo-Saxon ». « There is a discrepancy between the comments made in public and the substance of the report », Estimates an anonymous source close to the matter.

So, even if it is necessary to change “ pace ” and of ” method » so that the group “ truly become a leader in renewable energy and clean mobility », the report does not blame the French company as such. Because being “ completely private », elle « cannot probably alone initiate a change of model which weakens its profitability and carry out this change at a pace in line with society’s expectations “, we can read in the document. Result: out of 33 proposals divided into 4 axes (“Rstrengthen our sovereignty », “Asserting international leadership after the Paris Agreement”, “Promote corporate climate governance” and “Fighting against conflicts of interest”)only five or six directly concern TotalEnergies.

Sanction Russian LNG imports

It must be said that these are the fruit of a “ compromise », recalled Yannick Jadot and Roger Karoutchi. “It is a balanced report, which does not completely correspond to what I would have written in my contribution, but of which the Senate can be proud », Specified the environmentalist rapporteur.

« Despite the leniency displayed and the fact that the recommendations are not at all sufficient, having this report is a good thing. It makes it possible to keep track of what was said during the approximately 40 hearings conducted in recent weeks. Particularly those of scientists, who recalled that we must get away from fossil fuels and that TotalEnergies is not on the right climate trajectory », Comments Edina Ifticene, Fossils campaign manager at GreenPeace.

The association also welcomes another recommendation: that of “ raise France into a pioneering position compared to other European countries, by proposing the inclusion of Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) in energy products under European sanctions and by setting an example by stopping LNG imports as soon as possible Russian in France ».

« TotalEnergies must stop importing LNG from Russia. France must therefore include in its sanctions package the end of Russian LNG, more quickly than the end of Russian gas imports in general. », justified Yannick Jadot, recalling that in the 1st quarter of 2024, France imported 600 million euros of Russian LNG.

In fact, two years after the invasion of Ukraine, TotalEnergies continues to make business in the country led by Vladimir Putin, by selling more than 4 million tonnes of LNG per year via its long-term contract with Yamal LNG… mainly aimed at the Old Continent. From this immense industrial complex comprising 200 wells, three gas liquefaction trains, an airport, a port and a fleet of icebreaker boats, the French major loads the famous hydrocarbon before it travels by ship to the European coasts… including, moreover, towards France, the main customer of Russian LNG on the Old Continent. A contract that cannot be broken in the absence of sanctions, i.e.This factory is not affected by any commercial reprisals from Europe.

Why TotalEnergies is not selling its assets in Russia

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