TotalEnergies revenue hits $6.6 billion despite Russia loss

The logo of French energy conglomerate TotalEnergies is seen at a petrol station in Lille, northern France. (AP Photo/Michel Pinler, File)

PARIS (AP) — France’s TotalEnergies reported Thursday that its third-quarter net profit hit $6.6 billion despite losses from a business pullout in Russia, as oil and gas companies’ huge profits boosted the pressure on European governments to protect people from high energy bills.

The company posted adjusted net profit of $9.9 billion, but notably took a charge of $3.1 billion after selling a 49% stake in a Siberian natural gas field to the Russian energy producer Novatek.

Total CEO Patrick Pouyanné acknowledged the effect of Russia’s war in Ukraine on rising oil and natural gas prices this year, saying the company “took advantage of its integrated model, particularly LNG (liquefied natural gas), to generate results in line with previous quarters”. Europe increasingly turned to LNG as Russia cut natural gas flows during the war.

Total’s gas and renewables business reported record operating profit of $3.6 billion in the third quarter, an increase of $1.1 billion from the previous quarter, Pouyanné said. Total’s overall profit increased by 43% compared to the third quarter of last year.

The war in Ukraine has sent oil and natural gas prices soaring this year, and although they have fallen from summer peaks, they are still high and driving inflation that has made everything more expensive. , utility bills at the grocery store.

Rising energy prices sent corporate profits skyrocketing, with London-based Shell also announcing that its profits nearly doubled to $9.45 billion in the third quarter.

The European Union last month passed a levy on the windfall profits of energy producers to fund aid to people and businesses affected by the energy crisis.

Energy prices and inflation have fueled disruptive protests across France and other places in Europe.

On Thursday, a prominent far-left French union, the CGT, staged a protest of 1,500 people in Paris to demand wage increases to offset inflation.

CGT general secretary Philippe Martinez said the action was necessary because “if there were no mobilizations, there would be no wage negotiations in companies and no raises. salary”.

Earlier this week, workers at Total refineries in France ended a nearly month-long strike that sparked nationwide fuel shortages and mobilized industrial action for pay rises that follow the soaring cost of living.

French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire praised Total’s earnings on Thursday, saying “we should all be happy with this success.” In an interview with the BFM TV channel, he said the revenue helped extend the fuel price cap until mid-November.

However, Le Maire urged the company to share its profits with its employees by increasing their salaries and paying an end-of-year bonus.

“It’s good news, if they share the profits…if they reduce the French people’s (energy) bill,” French Minister of Public Accounts Gabriel Attal told public radio FranceInfo.

“We are going to tax them,” Attal said, referring to the European levy of at least 33% on the excess profits of companies producing or refining oil, natural gas and coal.

An agreement by the 27 EU countries on new measures to tackle the energy crisis has been postponed for a month amid struggles to overcome the influence of fluctuations in global energy markets and different energy mixes between Member States.

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