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Compagnie Française de Pétroles

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Compagnie Française de Pétroles

Total S.A.
Société Anonyme
Traded as TOT
Industry Oil and gas
Founded 1924
Founder(s) Ernest Mercier
Headquarters Tour Total, Paris, France
Area served Worldwide
Key people Christophe de Margerie (Chairman and CEO)
Patrick de la Chevardière (CFO)
Products Oil and gas exploration and production, natural gas and LNG trading and transportation, oil refining, chemicals
Services Fuel stations
Revenue 182.299 billion (2012)[1]
Operating income €22.409 billion (2012)[1]
Profit €10.694 billion (2012)[1]
Total assets €171.829 billion (2012)[1]
Total equity €72.912 billion (2012)[1]
Employees 97,126 (2012)[1]

Total S.A. (French pronunciation: ​[tɔtal]; English /tˈtæl/ or /tˈtɑːl/) is a French multinational integrated oil and gas company and one of the six "Supermajor" oil companies in the world. Its businesses cover the entire oil and gas chain, from crude oil and natural gas exploration and production to power generation, transportation, refining, petroleum product marketing, and international crude oil and product trading. Total is also a large-scale chemicals manufacturer. The company has its head office in the Tour Total in the La Défense district in Courbevoie, West of Paris.


Compagnie française des pétroles (CFP) : 1924 – 1985

The company was founded after World War I, when the then French Prime Minister Raymond Poincaré rejected the idea of forming a partnership with Royal Dutch Shell in favour of creating an entirely French oil company. At Poincaré's behest, Col. Ernest Mercier with the support of ninety banks and companies founded Total on 28 March 1924, as the Compagnie française des pétroles (CFP), literally the "French Petroleum Company". Petroleum was seen as vital in the case of a new war with Germany. As per the agreement reached during the San Remo conference of 1920, the French state received the 25% share held by Deutsche Bank in the Turkish Petroleum Company (TPC) as part of the compensation for war damages caused by Germany during World War I. The French government's stake in TPC was transferred to CFP,[2] and the Red Line agreement in 1928 rearranged the shareholding of CPF in TPC (later renamed the Iraq Petroleum Company in 1929) to 23.75%.[3] The company from the start was regarded as a private sector company in view of its listing on the Paris Stock Exchange in 1929.

The company during the 1930s was engaged in exploration and production, primarily from the Middle East. Its first refinery began operating in Normandy in 1933. After World War II, CFP engaged in oil exploration in Venezuela, Canada, and Africa while pursuing energy sources within France. Exploration in Algeria, then a French colony, began in 1946, with Algeria becoming a leading source of oil in the 1950s.[4] In 1954, CFP introduced its downstream product – 'Total' brand of gasoline in the African continent and Europe.[4][5]

Total CFP and re branding to Total : 1985 – 2003

The company renamed itself Total CFP in 1985, to build on the popularity of its gasoline brand.[5] Later in 1991, the name was changed to Total, when it became a public company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The French government, who used to control more than 30 percent of the company’s stock in 1991, reduced its stake in the firm to less than 1 percent by 1996[5][6] In the time period between 1990 and 1994, foreign ownership of the firm increased from 23 per cent to 44 per cent.

After Total's takeover of Petrofina of Belgium in 1999, it became known as Total Fina. Afterwards it also acquired Elf Aquitaine. First named TotalFinaElf after the merger in 2000, it was later renamed back to Total in 6 May 2003. During that rebranding, the current globe logo was unveiled.[7]

Total : 2003 – present

In 2003, Total signed for a 30% stake in the gas exploration venture in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) – The stake was later bought out by its partners.

In May 2006, Saudi Aramco and TOTAL signed a MOU to develop the Jubail Refinery and Petrochemical project in Saudi Arabia which targeted 400,000 barrels per day (bpd). On 21 September 2008, the two companies officially established a joint venture called SAUDI ARAMCO TOTAL Refining and Petrochemical Company (SATORP)- in which a 62.5% stake was held by Saudi Aramco and the balance 37.5% held by TOTAL.[9][10]

During the 2009/2010 Iraqi oil services contracts tender; a consortium led by CNPC (37.5%), and which included TOTAL (18.75%) and Petronas (18.75%) was awarded a production contract for the "Halfaya field" in the south of Iraq, which contains an estimated 4.1 billion barrels (650,000,000 m3) of oil.[11][12]

As of 2010, Total is one of the world’s major oil companies, with over 96,000 employees and operates in more than 130 countries[13]

Qatar is reported to have a 3 percent stake.[14]

In November 2012, Total announced it was selling its 20% stake and operating mandate in its Nigerian offshore project to a unit of China Petrochemical Corp for $2.5 billion.[15]

In 2013, Total started the operation at Kashagan with North Caspian Operationg Company.[16] It is the biggest discovery of oil reserves since 1968.

In September 2013, Total and its joint venture partner agreed to buy Chevron Corporation’s retail distribution business in Pakistan for an undisclosed amount.[17]


Head office

The company has its head office in the Tour Total in the La Défense district in Courbevoie, France, near Paris.[18][19] The building was originally constructed between 1983 and 1985 for Elf Aquitaine; Total SA acquired the building after its merger with Elf in 2000.[19]

Senior management

Christophe de Margerie has been chief executive since 14 February 2007. His total annual compensation for this role is €2,746,335, consisting of a €1,250,000 salary and €1,496,335 bonus.[20][21]

Business segments


  • Exploration and Production
  • Gas and Power
  • Solar

Supply and Marketing

Refining and Chemicals

  • Refining
  • Petrochemicals
  • Trading & shipping
  • Resins, adhesives and electroplating
    • Cray Valley
    • Cook Composites & Polymers
    • Atotech
    • Bostik
  • Elastomer Processing

Renewable and nuclear power

Total announced in 2007 that they are exploring the possibilities of entering the nuclear power sector. Although they already own one per cent of Areva, the largest nuclear business in the world.[22] Total does not currently have extensive involvement in nuclear power. However, in January 2008 Total announced that they were to sign an agreement with Suez and Areva to submit a nuclear power plant project to the authorities in the United Arab Emirates.[23]

On 29 April 2011, Total agreed to buy 60% of photovoltaics company SunPower for US$1.38 billion.[24]

Environmental record

In 1998 the Total SA company was fined €375,000 for an oil spill that stretched 400 kilometers from La Rochelle to the western tip of Brittany. The company was only fined that amount because they were only partially liable because Total SA did not own the ship. The plaintiffs had sought more than $1.5 billion in damages. More than 100 groups and local governments joined in the suit. The Total company was fined just over $298,000. The majority of the money will go to the French government, several environmental groups, and various regional governments. The Total SA company was also fined $550,000 for the amount of marine pollution that came from it. After the oil spill they tried to restore their image and have opened a sea turtle conservation project in Masirah in recent years.

Prior to the verdict in which Total was found guilty one of the counterparts in the incident, Malta Maritime Authority (MMA), was not to be tried for having any hand in the incident. In 2005 Total submitted a report to the Paris courts which stated that Total had gotten a group of experts that stated the tanker had corrosion on it and that Total was responsible for it. The courts sought a second expert reviewing of this information which was turned down.[25]

The AZF chemical plant which exploded in 2001 in Toulouse, France, belonged to the Grande Paroisse branch of Total.

On 13 August 2007, Total announced a lower fuel emission, lower emissions and cost-efficient petroleum product, named Evolution. Evolution is designed to let its user use less fuel and get further than other fuels. The product was developed exclusively for Total because of the demand for more energy efficient products. This fuel can be used with any engine that runs on unleaded.[26]

On 16 January 2008, Total was required to compensate all of the victims of the pollution caused by the sinking of the ship Erika. They are required to compensate the victims in the amount of €192 million. This is in addition to the €200 million that Total spent to help clean up the spill. The company feels that the verdict is unfair because it wasn't their fault the ship sank. They will be appealing the verdict because it forced the users of the ship to also be the inspectors and not the people that made the ship.[27]



Total is being implicated in a bribe commission scandal which is currently emerging in Malta. It has emerged that Total had told Maltese agents that it would not be interested in doing business with them unless their team included George Farrugia, who is under investigation in the procurement scandal. George Farrugia has recently been given a presidential pardon in exchange of informations about this scandal. Enemalta, Malta's energy supplier, swiftly barred Total and its agents, Trafigura from bidding and tenders. An investigation is currently underway and three people have been arraigned.

Myanmar investments

Despite the European Union's sanctions against the military dictatorship Myanmar, Total is able to operate the Yadana natural gas pipeline from Burma to Thailand. Total is currently the subject of a lawsuit in French and Belgian courts for the condoning and use of the country's civilian slavery to construct the pipeline. The documentary 'Total Denial' shows the background of this project.[28] The NGO Burma Campaign UK is currently campaigning against this project.

Italian bribes

On 16 December 2008, the managing director of the Italian division of Total, Lionel Levha, and ten other executives were arrested by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Potenza, Italy, for a corruption charge of €15 million to undertake the oilfield in Basilicata on contract. Also arrested was the local deputy of Partito Democratico Salvatore Margiotta and an Italian entrepreneur.[29][30]

UN Oil-for-Food Programme for Iraq

In April 2010, Total was accused of bribing Iraqi officials during former dictator Saddam Hussein's regime to secure oil supplies. A United Nations report later revealed that Iraqi officials had received bribes from oil companies to secure contracts worth over $10bn (£6.5bn).[31]

Investments in Iran

Total has been a significant investor in the Iranian energy sector since 1990.[32] Total is suspected of concealing the source of its oil imports from Iran.[33] On 28 June 2010 Total announced that it would cease shipments of oil products to Iran following adoption by the United States of economic sanctions against the country.[34]

Bribery in Iran

In 2013 a case was settled that concerned charges that Total bribed an Iranian official with $60 million, which they documented as a "consulting charge," and which unfairly gave them access to Iran's Sirri A and Sirri E oil and gas fields. The bribery gave them a competitive advantage, earning them an estimated $150 million in profits. The Securities Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice settled the charges, expecting Total to pay $398 million.[35]

Western Sahara oil exploration

In October 2001, Total signed a contract for oil-reconnaissance in areas offshore Western Sahara (near Dakhla), with the "Moroccan Office National de Recherches et d’Exploitations Petrolières" (ONAREP). In January 2002, Hans Corell (the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs) stated in a letter to the President of the Security Council that whenever the contracts are only for exploration they're not illegal, but if further exploration or exploitation are against the interests and wishes of the people of Western Sahara, they would be in violation of the principles of international law.[36] Finally, Total decided to not renew their license off Western Sahara.[37]

Offshore Production in Thailand

In April 2012 Total announced its initiation of offshore production in the Greater Bongkot South (GBS) gas and condensate field in the Gulf of Thailand's blocks B16 and B17. The new development is operated by the Bangkot Joint Venture. The new field in GBS is expected to increase production capacity by 50% in Thailand.[38]

See also

Paris portal
Energy portal
Companies portal


External links

  • Recruitment website

Template:Euro Stoxx 50 Companies

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