Our Trading and Shipping Operations

Trading room in London, U.K. Salle de trading de Londres

Every day, billions of companies and individuals use oil and gas to commute, work, heat homes and offices and perform many other activities. We buy and sell this oil and gas around the world. Our teams work to maximize the value of our products, secure supply to our refineries and transport energy to consumer hubs, all while managing the related financial and logistical risks. We are active in 120 countries where we deal with all aspects of oil and gas trading, including physical trading, derivatives and shipping.

An integrated energy operator with a global network

Marketing oil and gas all over the world at the right price means managing two important variables: 

  • Financial markets and price risks linked to market volatility, which depend on a number of economic, geopolitical and even climate-related factors.
  • The organization of shipping from production areas to consumer hubs worldwide under optimal safety conditions and in a timely, cost-effective way.

To rise to these challenges, our trading & shipping teams around the world work in close collaboration with Total’s Upstream and Downstream business segments, forming a one-stop shop on oil and gas markets. This optimizes transactions and means that we are equipped to offer tailored solutions to a wide range of players, from producers, transporters and refiners to financial institutions and industrial firms.

We trade with an extensive global network of partners every day, affording us a highly diversified range of resources and supply sources to complement our production volumes. This maximizes the chances of selling both our own and our partner producers’ production while securing supply flows to our refineries and our distribution system. 

Total's trading and shipping operations
TotalLes activités de négoce et transport chez Total
 
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Trading: maximizing the value of our own and our customers’ assets

Every day, our traders deal in oil and gas markets. Their goal is to maximize the value of our production, supply our refineries under the best market conditions and import and export products to match supply to demand in local markets. In addition, they have the crucial responsibility of managing risks, in particular to limit our exposure to sometimes extreme price fluctuations.

Thanks to our expertise and experience in oil markets, we have developed monitoring and decision-support tools at the cutting-edge of trading. Our teams enjoy a global view of real-time flows and segment information, around the clock. As a result, we can respond to developments with the agility needed to maximize the value of our own assets and those of our customers.

“We Are Pioneers in Trading Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)”

Long controlled by State-owned companies, the European gas industry was largely privatized during the 2000s. This development paved the way for the creation of a free market for LNG trading. Total was one of the first companies to have seized the opportunities presented by this emerging market, with our first transactions taking place in 2003. Today, we are among the top three companies in the market.

In line with our strategy, we work to anticipate the launch of new liquefaction projects and to maximize the value of our LNG portfolio in every market.

LNG trading relies on a very broad range of skills, including arbitrage, one of our longstanding areas of expertise. The purpose of arbitrage is to redirect shipments in response to opportunities created by local demand and prices while managing shipping, price, currency and interest rate risk.

Shipping: transporting oil and gas

Our shipping teams organize the transportation of oil and gas from production areas to major consumer hubs. They select and charter the safest vessels to ensure that cargo is shipped in the most timely, cost-effective way and, naturally, under optimal safety conditions.

Leveraging a leading maritime transportation network

In 2017, we chartered nearly 3,000 vessels to transport 133 million metric tons of crude oil and refined products. We maintain a permanent fleet of nearly 60 time-chartered vessels. We apply one of the most rigorous selection processes in the oil industry for every ship we use, especially those in our fleet. To make sure each vessel meets our standards, our vetting process notably evaluates the condition of the equipment, ship maintenance, crew quality and operating procedures on board.

In 2017, we sold more than 11.2 million metric tons of LNG. We transported this gas on board ultra-high-performance LNG carriers capable of maintaining an extreme cold chain (-163°C) between the liquefaction site and the regasification plant.

Ice-Class LNG Carriers: Opening Up a Whole New Sea Lane

Technological marvels, ice-class LNG carriers can reliably and regularly transport large shipments of Arctic LNG to consumer hubs. Thanks to this innovative solution, we are able to use the Northern Sea Route via the Bering Strait in the summer without the assistance of ice-breakers, meaning it takes half the time to ship cargo between Sabetta and Asia than it would along the route via Europe and the Suez Canal.

Our onshore infrastructure

We have access to advanced infrastructure for transporting hydrocarbons across land through interests in some 30 gas pipelines worldwide. This enables us to efficiently deliver our gas and oil from fields to storage centers and major consumer hubs.

LNG requires a specific supply chain that includes regasification terminals, as the liquefied gas must be converted back into its gaseous state before it is injected into distribution networks. Whether through acquired interests or reserved regasification capacity, we currently conduct our activities at five sites: Dunkerque and Fos Cavaou (France), South Hook (United Kingdom), Hazira (India) and Altamira (Mexico).

“FSRUs: Unlocking New LNG Markets”

Floating storage regasification units (FSRUs) for LNG may be moored to a docking facility or anchored at sea. Less expensive and faster to deploy than onshore infrastructure, FSRUs have made it possible for new comers to import LNG.