Europe energy crisis a ‘big wake up call' - TotalEnergies CEO

Russian aggression in Ukraine has been a major wake-up call to European governments trying to reconcile the use of fossil fuels with the environment. This was the statement by TotalEnergies.

Russia supplies 40% of Europe’s gas needs. As traders worried that Russia might reduce supplies, benchmark gas prices rose to the highest level ever recorded.

Patrick Pouyanne, Chief Executive of TotalEnergies said that the “what is happening now in Europe” is an important wakeup call to policymakers if they want security of supply and affordability as well as climate change compatibility. He spoke at Houston’s CERAWeek energy conference.

We must consider all three sides of the triangle, and not just one. Europe plans to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels over the next decade to combat climate change. Governments will limit oil and gas production, and finance fossil fuel projects.

While Europe’s capacity for solar and wind power has increased in recent years but its energy system and power are still heavily dependent upon natural gas and coal, Pouyanne stated that Europe must build additional infrastructure in order to be able to import more LNG, if it is to have an alternative to Russian natural gas.

“The fact is in Europe that there are not enough regas terminals available to replace Russia’s piped gas by LNG. Pouyanne claimed that TotalEnergies didn’t come under pressure from the government to exit Russia fully following the Ukraine invasion.

TotalEnergies is the sole major Western energy company not to completely exit Russia. Shell, BP and Exxon have all publicly announced that they will withdraw. TotalEnergies announced that it would cease all Russian spending.

French oil company, BP, holds 19.4% in Novatek (Russia’s largest producer liquefied natural gases (LNG)), and also a stake the Novatek-led Arctic LNG. Pouyanne stated that he had spoken with officials from my country’s highest level and they did not push for Russia to be effected.

Pouyanne stated that Russia sanctions are not a threat to natural gas, and it is therefore incongruent for producers of gas to leave the country. Pouyanne said that TotalEnergies has not stopped purchasing oil from Russia. However, one of its German landlocked refineries continues to receive Russian crude via pipeline.