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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