"This outcome is, I think, the best response to commentators who predicted, and in some cases even hoped for an investor rebellion against the company, and responds to those who act more as activists than shareholders," said Pouyanne. But Environmentalists and a chunk of the shareholders say TotalEnergy must do more to convince that they are abiding by their promises.
Environmental and human-rights
protection groups are waiting to see what the impact of the name change by from Total to TotalEnergies by the French oil and gas giant will be.
According to the company group
Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanné, this is part of their journey in the
energy revolution, with the mission of being an environment -friendly energy
producer of the world.
“Our ambition is to be a world
class player in the energy transition. That’s why Total is transforming and
becoming TotalEnergies,” he says.
The company, which is the lead
investor in the commercial development of Uganda’s oil and gas industry, has
seen its projects in Uganda and elsewhere come under heavy criticism from both
local, African and international civil society organisations.
The climax so far was during the signing
of the tripartite agreements between governments of Uganda and Tanzania, as
well as the oil companies in April, which gave a go ahead for the commencement
of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), in April. More than 260 CSOs petitioned the
parties to drop the project saying it would violate economic and human rights
especially for the poor residents along the route, as well as degrading the
Apart from the pipeline, upstream
projects like exploration and production of oil and other activities in the oil
fields have also been criticized on claims that they emit sounds, vibrations
and gases dangerous to the ecosystem.
“Energy is life. We all need it
and it’s a source of progress" CEO Pouyanné said in his statement to the shareholders. "So today, to contribute to the sustainable
development of the planet facing the climate challenge, we are moving forward,
together, towards new energies. Energy is reinventing itself, and this energy
journey is ours.”
The name change, according to the
company, is an example of the direction TotalEnergies has decided on towards a
broad energy company committed to producing and providing energies that are
ever more affordable, reliable and clean.
The name change did not
happen without challenges, as 10% of the shareholders had opposed the whole
green energy goals of the company as not ambitious enough.
strategy provides for the company to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. Carbon neutrality refers to achieving net-zero carbon dioxide
This can be done by balancing emissions of carbon dioxide
with its removal (often through carbon offsetting) or by
eliminating emissions from society.
Other oil companies based in
Europe and America, like Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil are facing similar
challenges including court actions to force them cut emissions.
The Petroleum Authority of
Uganda says the allegations by the crusaders on the country’s industry are
either intentionally exaggerated or based on misinformation. Following the passing of the
name change resolution, Pouyanné said the shareholders have perfectly responded to the criticism by both
CSOs and the investors critical to the company’s plans.
"This outcome is,
I think, the best response to commentators who predicted, and in some cases
even hoped for an investor rebellion against the company, and responds to those
who act more as activists than shareholders," he said.
Rebranding on its own,
however, was supported by more than 99% of the shareholders.
The company is
increasing its focus towards renewable energy with more attention to solar and wind
power, as well as light nitrogen gas.
“In the next decade, oil products sales from Total will
diminish by almost 30% and Total’s sales mix will become 30% oil products, 5%
biofuels, 50% gases, 15% electrons,” says TotalEnergies in a statement.
By doing this, it
hopes to derive revenues from electricity production, and reduce its reliance
on oil products.
Pouyanne said much as
his wish was for the company to become a "green energy major", a more
radical shift may not be tenable as the company needs to fund its transition
from revenues from fossil fuels.
Total in Uganda has
insisted that its operations follow internationally accepted standards, as well
as its own international policies regarding the environment and human rights
It cites the
government-approved environmental impact assessments, the independent
assessments conducted by third parties and dialogues with communities, which it
says have been instrumental in improving the safety of the company’s
Dickens Kamugisha, the
Chief Executive of one of the petitioners, the African Institute for Energy
Governance one of the petitioners, says TotalEnergy must do more to convince
that they are abiding by their promises.
//Cue in: “I don’t think….
Cue out:….one percent.”//
However, Kamugisha says that since the petition, Total has
approached them to update them on what they are doing and explain where the NGOs are