Oil giant TotalEnergies on Thursday, April 27, 2023, announced staggering first quarter profits of $6.5 billion to shareholders, a development that appears not to have gone down well with environmental activists.
The Board of Directors of TotalEnergies, chaired by CEO Patrick Pouyanné, met on April 26, 2023, to approve the first quarter 2023 financial statements.
On the occasion, Pouyanné said: “TotalEnergies once again demonstrates its ability to generate strong results, posting in the first quarter 2023 adjusted net income of $6.5 billion, cash flow of $9.6 billion, and return on average capital employed of 25%, in an environment of lower oil and gas prices. IFRS net income was $5.6 billion for the quarter.”
But the campaigners are unimpressed, alleging that the oil firm is responsible for “some of the most destructive fossil fuel projects on the planet”, including the controversial East African Crude Oil Pipeline and fracking across Vaca Muerta, Argentina.
The announcement, according to them, shines a spotlight on the moral bankruptcy and danger posed by oil majors, adding that “these corporations are ruthlessly profiteering off war in Ukraine, at a time when tens of millions of people are currently suffering from the combined impacts of the climate crisis and the cost of living scandal”.
They added: “Despite European governments calling for an end to fossil fuel expansion in the global South and the International Energy Agency demanding an end to new fossil fuel investments, Total is currently leading a dash for gas in Africa, recently securing billion dollar deals in Algeria and South Africa to extract and burn more fossil fuels from the continent. Total’s planned operations will be devastating for people and the planet – their actions will benefit a handful of wealthy shareholders at huge cost to local communities and the climate.”
Zaki Mamdoo, Coordinator of Stop EACOP Campaign Against the East African Crude Oil Pipeline, said: “It is vital that we stop the flow of money to reckless fossil fuel companies like Total. TotalEnergies is truly heartless in its relentless profiteering on the African continent. The firm’s ever-growing profit margins are generated at the expense of our communities, the natural world, and an exploited African workforce. One of Total’s biggest projects on the continent, the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), gives credence to this fact.
“Even before its construction, scores of project-affected persons and frontline activists have been made to endure violence, intimidation, forced removals, unfair compensatory processes, the desecration of cultural sites, and the loss of land and other income generating streams. The world is awakening to the realities of this damaging project, and we are certain that it can be stopped if we stop the flow of finance to Total. As local and global momentum grows in opposition to EACOP, It is vital that we stop the flow of money to reckless fossil fuel companies like Total. We are appealing to all financial institutions to publicly distance themselves from this project and from all of Total’s destruction.”
Clémence Dubois, Global Campaigner at 350.org: “TotalEnergies, the worst French multinational corporation in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, plans to use record profits to develop new oil and gas projects. This is unacceptable, as we are facing unprecedented heatwaves, fires, and flooding worldwide, while millions of households struggle with the cost-of-living crisis. The company’s AGM is a chance for them to celebrate their profits, but they should be prepared to face resistance from movements in France committed to blocking it as long as they continue their destructive path.
“It is crucial that politicians and decision-makers do not allow the fossil fuel industry to dictate the economic and political agenda for their own benefit. They must seize those billions to transition to affordable clean energy, warm homes, and climate security for all.”
Ilan Zugman, 350.org Latin America Director: “Total’s billion-dollar profit bears the stamp of the global climate crisis and the damages that the company causes in places like Patagonia, Argentina. While Total executives and shareholders get even richer, thousands of families in that part of the world are having their houses cracked and their water sources contaminated after Total and other companies started to use the fracking technique to extract oil and gas from the Vaca Muerta reserve.”