Gas exploration in the Russian Arctic, huge oil reserves in the United Arab Emirates, threatened projects in Mozambique … According to a study published on May 12 and analyzed by the NGO Reclaim Finance, French major TotalEnergies is involved in 25 “carbon bombs”, Four of them were not (yet) in development in 2021.
The latter should not be explored or exploited if TotalEnergies, which reported net profit of $16 billion in February, wants to align itself with the zero carbon path recommended by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Rather than being known for its conservative stances, the IEA has called for no verification of new oil and gas field development from 2021 and investing heavily in renewable energies to keep climate change under control.
The information is important as the company’s shareholders must give their opinion Wednesday, during the annual general meeting, on the report on the group’s strategy to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Contacted by 20 minutesTotalEnergies does not wish to comment on this study.
Researchers have identified 425 carbon bombs in the world
What is a carbon bomb? This concept defines the largest fossil fuel extraction projects, whose potential emissions may exceed 1 gigatonne of carbon dioxide over their operating life. For the first time, researchers have identified 425 projects around the world, including 195 oil and gas projects and 230 mines. Added together, all of these projects would blow up the planet’s available carbon budget to limit global warming to 1.5°C “by a multiple of two,” say the researchers at energy policy.
“This study creates a new framework that underscores what the gas, oil and coal industry sees as work as usual This status quo appears to be problematic in the face of the climate emergency,” asserts Kjell Coheny, lead author and PhD student at the University of Leeds in the UK. In 2011, he co-created the Leave It in the Ground campaign, which calls for an end to fossil fuel use.
TotalEnergies participates in 25 highly polluting projects
These figures are made possible by the paid database Rystad Energy, an independent consultancy for the oil and gas industry based in Norway. The analysis was carried out by the NGO Reclaim Finance, which has access to this database 20 minutes TotalEnergies’ participation in these carbon bombs. The company is involved in 25 projects, the potential cumulative emissions of which are up to 59.6 gigatons of carbon dioxide. Russia, China, and the Middle East: 13 of these are also in areas where carbon bombs are concentrated.
Many projects, already under development, would have a significant impact if all their known reserves were exploited. In Argentina, potential emissions from oil and shale gas Vaca Muerta are estimated at 5.2 gigatons of carbon dioxide, in the United States, and those from the Utica Shale project, which is 100% owned by the company, are estimated at 7, 7 gigatons of carbon dioxide. , those for Changqing in China will reach 4.9 gigatonnes of CO2. In the UAE, where TotalEnergies is involved in six carbon bombs, all of these oil and gas projects can emit 16.5 gigatons of carbon dioxide.
“We should not develop new projects to extract fossil fuels”
But the most worrying carbon bombs, which should be “defused” as soon as possible according to the researchers, turned out to be the new projects that have not yet been launched. “As scientific studies show, the IEA report, as the UN Secretary-General reiterates, we should not develop new projects to extract fossil fuels, nor should we invest there anymore, explains Kjell Kuhney. Existing projects can already take us beyond 1.5°C or 2°C warming. So it will be necessary to shut down the existing infrastructure before its reserves run out. If we build new projects today, they will have to close sooner and some will lose money in the process.”
In their study, the researchers proposed delaying these hundreds of new projects, which would make it possible to avoid a third of potential carbon dioxide emissions. In 2021, TotalEnergies plans four new “carbon bombs”, located in Russia, Brazil and Mozambique, the development of which has not yet begun. “Thus, these are projects that do not directly align with what the IEA says,” identifies Guillaume Pottier, Campaign Director with Reclaim Finance’s Financial Players. TotalEnergies, or its shareholders, would have the ability not to develop them. Their potential cumulative emissions are up to 5.7G tons of carbon dioxide.
“The transmission of energy is not there”
In the next decade, TotalEnergies plans to invest large sums in fossil fuels, just like Saudi Aramco, Gazprom, ExxonMobil or Shell. Guillaume Potter believes that “the energy transition does not exist. TotalEnergies will have to show very quickly that it can reduce fossil fuel production while increasing its renewable production, which is not the case.”
He explained that in 2020, 84% of the investment, or $11 billion, was directed to fossil fuels. “Over the period from 2022 to 2025, we are at more than 70%, or $10.1 billion that will go into fossil fuels each year,” he adds. By comparison, during this period, the company plans to invest $3.5 billion annually in renewable energy. It has set itself a target of 100 gigawatts of renewable energy in 2030.
In a comprehensive investigation, the guardian It showed that 12 major oil and gas companies – including TotalEnergies – planned to invest millions of dollars every day until 2030 in projects that were not warming limited to 1.65°C, and even more so, non-compliant warming limited to 2.7 Celsius.
In the Arctic, in Mozambique, projects at risk
In the Russian Arctic, one of the fastest warming regions on Earth, the massive Arctic LNG 2 project has become particularly controversial since the war in Ukraine. While TotalEnergies will abandon Russian oil by the end of the year, the company has not yet given up its investments in gas in particular Yamal LNG, which is already in operation, and Arctic LNG 2. At the end of April, it announced a €4.1 billion impairment on this project. Because of the sanctions imposed on Moscow.
In Mozambique, its three gas and oil projects are also suffering from the very tense situation in the country. Development of a €16.5 billion LNG project began in 2020. But after an attack by jihadists on a site in Cabo Delgado province, TotalEnergies halted the project in April 2021. In Brazil, a huge offshore Libra oil field was discovered in the Atlantic Ocean, which is a project Another off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. Exploitation of a part of this deep-water field began in 2017 in pre-production, named Meru.
TotalEnergies’ strategy remains incompatible with the Paris Agreement
However, TotalEnergies defends its investment and wants to further develop it across the LNG chain. Refers to 20 minutes That in 2050, fossil fuels should account for no more than 25% of their energy production mix and would therefore be “compliant with the landing point in the IEA scenario”. According to the Action Action 100+ Investors Alliance, which notes the climate efforts of the biggest polluters, TotalEnergies has yet to decarbonize its capital expenditures, although the company has set carbon-neutral ambitions by 2050.
Over the past two years, a small group of shareholders has been lobbying for the company to be more meaningfully involved. “We consider that TotalEnergies’ strategy remains incompatible with the Paris Agreement”, unfortunately, with 20 minutesEdmond de Rothschild AM investment fund, noting that TotalEnergies does not have a quantified target for the absolute reduction of its other indirect emissions (known as Scope 3) globally before 2030. “Its goal for 2030 appears to be that its absolute emissions remain globally stable. , which is inconsistent with the various scientific scenarios and recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,” the fund adds.
Eleven shareholders wanted to submit a resolution to General Motors on Wednesday for TotalEnergies to commit to a climate strategy with targets in line with the Paris Agreement, which the board of directors rejected. “This does not take into account at all the climate emergency,” Edmond de Rothschild AM regrets.