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Total S.A.

Total S.A. is an oil company headquartered in Paris, France, 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.

History

Rejecting the idea of partnering with Royal Dutch Shell, French Prime Minister Raymond Poincaré insisted after World War I that France create an entirely French oil company. At Poincaré's behest, Col. Ernest Mercier, a graduate of the École Polytechnique expert in the electric industry, enlisted the support of ninety banks and companies to found Total on March 28, 1924, as the Compagnie française des pétroles (CFP), literally the "French Company of Petroleums". Petroleum was seen as vital in the case of a new war with Germany. However, the company was from the start a private sector company (it was listed on the Paris Stock Exchange for the first time in 1929). CFP took up the 23.75% share of Deutsche Bank in the Turkish Petroleum Company (renamed the Iraq Petroleum Company), awarded to France as compensation for war damages caused by Germany during World War I by the San Remo conference.

In 1985 the company was renamed Total CFP. In 1991 the company name became simply Total. After Total's takeover of Petrofina 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 2003.

Today’s Total was created by two successive mergers - first of Total and Belgium’s PetroFina to create Totalfina, then of Totalfina and Elf Aquitaine to create TotalFinaElf. As such, the Group, renamed Total in May 2003. Total operates in more than 130 countries and has over 96,400 employees. As recently as 1992, the French government still held 5% of the firm's shares, down from a peak of over thirty percent. In the time period between 1990 and 1994, foreign ownership of the firm increased from 23% to 44%.

Organization



Total S.A. Business Segments

Upstream

  • Oil & petrol production/exploration
  • Oil & power

Downstream

  • Refining & marketing
  • Trading & shipping



Chemicals

  • Total Petrochemicals
  • Fertilizers
  • Resins, adhesives and electroplating
    • Cray Valley
    • Sartomer
    • Cook Composites & Polymers
    • Atotech
    • Bostik
  • Elastomer Processing

Environmental Record

In 1999 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 million dollars. 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.

The AZF chemical plant which exploded in 2001 in Toulouse, France, belonged to the Grande Paroisse branch of Total. On January 16, 2008, Total S.A. was required to compensate all of the victims of the pollutions caused by the sinking of the ship Erika. They are required to compensate the victims in the amount of EUR 192 million. This is in addition to the EUR 200 million that Total S.A. 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. On August 13, 2007, Total S.A. 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. Total have also recently announced that they are exploring the possibilities of entering the nuclear power sector. Although they already own 1% of Areva, the largest nuclear business in the world 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

Controversial investment in Myanmar

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 named pipeline. The documentary 'Total denial' shows the background of this project. The NGO Burma Campaign UK is currently campaigning against this project.

See also

References

External links

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