Apr 4, 2019

Oil-and-gas giant Total's foray into China battery tech

Total refinery in Germany. Photo: Andia/UIG via Getty Images

Oil-and-gas giant Total on Thursday announced a joint venture with the Tianneng Group, a Chinese battery maker, to expand production in China.

Why it matters: It's the latest sign of oil majors' deepening forays into energy storage tech with vehicle and power grid applications.

  • And oil giants — including Shell, BP and Total — are moving into electric vehicle-related businesses more widely with investments in EV charging companies, battery startups and more.

Driving the news: Total said its battery subsidiary Saft, which it acquired in 2016, will have a 40% share of the lithium-ion battery partnership with Tianneng. Electric bikes, electric vehicles and power storage are all target markets, they said. They did not provide information on the deal's value.

What they're saying: Total CEO Patrick Pouyanné said in a statement that the move will give Saft "access to China’s booming battery market as well as highly-competitive mass production capacity to accelerate its growth."

  • "This is a first strategic move driven by Total, following the acquisition of Saft in 2016, to grow Saft's activity in China, the world’s largest renewables market, as well as in the [energy storage solutions] segment as an essential component to the large scale development of intermittent renewable energies," he said.

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World coronavirus updates

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Japan's economy minister outlined plans on Monday to end the nationwide state of emergency as the number of new novel coronavirus cases continues to decline to less than 50 a day, per Bloomberg. Japan has reported 16,550 cases and 820 deaths.

By the numbers: Over 5.4 million people have tested positive for the virus as of Monday, and more than 2.1 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 13.7 million tests). The U.K. is reporting over 36,800 deaths from the coronavirus — the most fatalities outside the U.S.

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of midnight ET: 5,401,701 — Total deaths: 345,060 — Total recoveries — 2,149,407Map.
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  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

President Trump doubled down on his push to reopen schools, tweeting late Sunday: "Schools in our country should be opened ASAP."

Zoom in: Trump pushed back on NIAD Director Anthony Fauci cautioning against the move earlier this month, calling his concerns "not an acceptable answer."