Feb 9, 2021 - Economy & Business

Oil giant Total rebrands and boosts renewables spend

total flags flying over a rig
Photo: Jonathan Raa/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The huge multinational oil-and-gas company Total on Tuesday unveiled new information about its diversification efforts — and the company's changing its name too.

Driving the news: Total said over 20% of its expected $12.1 billion in net spending in 2021 will be devoted to renewables and other electricity-related investments.

By the numbers: Looking further out, Total said its focus on liquefied natural gas, renewables and other electricity services means that oil products will fall to 30% of its sales mix by 2030.

  • "The company expects its energy sales mix to be 50% gases, 30% oil products, 5% biofuels and 15% electrons by 2030, compared with 55% oil products, 40% gas and 5% electrons in 2019," S&P Global Platts reports.

The intrigue: Total is asking shareholders to endorse a rebrand as TotalEnergies.

  • The French company says the name reflects its plan to "transform itself into a broad energy company to meet the dual challenge of the energy transition: more energy, less emissions."
  • It comes after Norwegian oil major Statoil rebranded as Equinor in 2018.

Why it matters: It's the latest sign of how some of the world's most powerful oil companies are moving more deeply into cleaner tech outside what remains their dominant fossil fuel business.

  • Total in recent years has been expanding more deeply into areas including renewables, batteries, hydrogen and electric vehicle charging.

What we're watching: On Thursday, Royal Dutch Shell is slated to unveil specifics about its plan to be a "net-zero emissions" business by 2050.

Catch up quick: Total's announcement arrived as part of the company's fourth-quarter and full-year earnings report.

  • It reported a $7.2 billion net loss on the year, showing the pandemic's toll on the sector as companies took huge write-downs and grappled with the collapse in demand and prices.
  • But Reuters notes that its Q4 earnings fell less sharply than the prior three months and that its adjusted profit of $1.3 billion for the period beat analysts' expectations.
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