Total, a Leading Energy Operator for Almost a Century


Total's history began in the 1920s, with the creation of Compagnie Française des Pétroles (CFP). At the time we produced oil in the Middle East. Over the years we expanded internationally and diversified into refining, petroleum product marketing, and chemicals. After nearly 100 years of growth and development, we are now a leading global energy company, on the cutting edge of innovation.

The Product of a Multi-Brand Merger

  • 1924: French Prime Minister Raymond Poincaré created Compagnie Française des Pétroles (CFP). 
  • 1929: CFP was listed on the Paris Bourse. It was renamed Total-CFP in 1985, then Total in 1991. 
  • 1999-2000: We strengthened our positions by merging first with PetroFina and then Elf Aquitaine.

Our archives contain 60,000 documents

These documents on our history and the history of the French oil industry. They are an extremely rich source of information open to researchers, academics and journalists.

International Growth and Gradual Diversification

Our production activities in the Middle East began in 1924. In 1929, we embarked on exploration work in other countries to discover and develop new resources. Our refining activities began the same year, with the creation of an affiliate, Compagnie Française de Raffinage (CFR).

We started building our chemicals business in the 1960s. At the same time our retail network continued to expand, growing into the global operation it is today.


An Unwavering Focus on Innovation

  • 1961: Discovered our first offshore fields, in Gabon.
  • 1975: Made our first foray into solar energy in the mid-1970s. In 2011 we acquired 60% of the U.S. company SunPower a leading solar operator.
  • 1982: Performed our first deepwater drilling operation (1,714 meters) in the Mediterranean.
  • 1986: Opened our first automated service station in France.
  • 2011: Created the Total Access network, with close to 700 low-price stations across France.

Engaging with Communities

Total is also committed to protecting the environment and helps communities tackle major social issues.

Created in 1992, our Foundation implements initiatives in the fields of public health, community outreach, biodiversity, culture and heritage. It strives to build local capacity in those areas in all our host regions, while introducing development models that can be reproduced anywhere. It cultivates long-term partnerships with private and public stakeholders to achieve those goals. Today, the Total Foundation is France's largest corporate foundation. Together with Total’s corporate philanthropy projects, its programs represented close to €18.3 million in 2015.