“This general meeting will not have been held with impunity. » The hundreds of climate activists and scientists gathered in front of the Salle Pleyel, in Paris, will not have succeeded in preventing the holding of the annual meeting of shareholders of TotalEnergies, Friday, May 26. However, they took advantage of this opportunity to once again increase the pressure on the oil giant, accused of jeopardizing the fight against global warming by continuing its activities in the hydrocarbons sector. A concern that was also expressed, inside, through questions asked by several shareholders.
The group, which recorded a record profit in 2022 of 20.5 billion dollars (19.5 billion euros), says it knew ” benefit “ the unprecedented energy context, marked by a very sharp rise in oil, gas and electricity prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “This environment has been very favorable for TotalEnergies, which has entered a new era”, insisted the financial director, Jean-Pierre Sbraire.
Called into question for the company’s impact on the environment, its CEO, Patrick Pouyanné, defended its climate strategy, which was unsurprisingly adopted by some 1.5 million shareholders – of whom around 500 were present. Pleyel. TotalEnergies wants to maintain its oil production over the next decade and says it needs to continue investing in new facilities to compensate for the natural decline in active fields. The company “assume” also to bet on fossil gas, affirming that this source of energy can play a role ” positive “ in the transition by replacing coal.
“The challenge is to go faster”
Choices that contradict the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the International Energy Agency, which have established that achieving carbon neutrality requires no longer investing in any new fossil installation, energies mainly responsible for greenhouse gas emissions. The French company is the seventh in the world to plan the most new oil and gas fields in the short term.
Patrick Pouyanné also said he wanted “respond to the grumpy people who accuse the company of greenwashing” highlighting the growing investments in the electricity sector, particularly from renewable sources. Estimated at around 2 billion euros in 2020, they rose to more than 4 billion in 2022 and should reach 5 billion in 2023, i.e. half of the investments in new capacities. “The challenge is to go faster, stronger and above all faster”however, estimated Thursday, May 25, the Minister of Energy Transition, Agnès Pannier-Runacher.