The Future of energy : Patrick Pouyanne on Total’s ambition

Providing an increasing world population with energy, managing the impact of climate change, and meeting the demands of customers : such are the challenges that Total, the oil and gas major, must take up.
The world population will grow, from 7 billion today to 9 billion people.
Today, 1.5 billion people do not have access to energy.
We can hope that in 30 or 40 years, 9 billion people living on earth will have access to energy.
But what is important is that energy is at the core of economic development.
The challenge for an oil and gas company, for an energy company, is to be able to provide to all mankind an affordable, reliable and clean energy.
The 2nd challenge which will shape the future of energy is climate change.
This is really a global challenge for everybody on earth.
Population growth, more demand, and at the same time being able to manage climate change, are the 2 key drivers for the future of energy.
Technology, of course, will be key.
When you think about the history of energy, 300 years ago we were burning wood, then we went to coal, from coal we moved to oil, from oil to gas, from gas to nuclear,
to renewables.
All that has been driven by technological breakthroughs.
There are many breakthroughs we need to face the future of energy: digitalization, energy storage, renewables, carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS).
All these are big fields of technology that we need to develop and improve.
We have this permanent quest to have energy that is more affordable, more reliable, cleaner.
All that is possible because we make some progress in technology.
So when you're in Total, as a major oil and gas company, as a major energy company, technological capacity is at the heart of the future of the company.
A customer first wants affordable energy.
He can have other expectations, in particular digitalization, renewables...
If you mix both and energy storage, you could imagine that tomorrow, our customer will also become a provider of energy: you put some solar panels on the roof of your house, you combine that with a battery, with some digital software and you can become an energy provider.
It could change the relationship between the customers and the suppliers of energy, like Total.
So there are many trends, and customers are obviously very important because we, again, produce energy for them.
The energy mix will evolve, will change, but if you look at the scenario from the International Energy Agency for the 2 degree roadmap, that we, at Total, use as a base
of all our strategic thinking,  you observe that this energy mix will evolve, but you will still have some hydrocarbons: more than 40% of the energy mix, compared to 60% today, will be oil and gas, so Total will still be an oil and gas major in 35 years.
But at the same time, you'll also see a big increase and growth for renewables, growing from 10, 15% to more than 30%.
But we should not oppose the energies, we'll need them all.
Again, the first challenge is to provide affordable energy to mankind.
When you think about the future of energy, you must combine the various energies, and this is the ambition we have in Total.
We will still be, in 35 years, a major oil and gas company, but we also hope to be able to develop the company in these new energies.
We see gas as the only fossil fuel which will have a growing share.
From 20 to 25% more or less.
Because gas is a very abundant resource, and gas is by far the cleanest fossil fuel.
A power plant that burns gas emits twice as less CO₂ than a coal-powered plant.
So clearly, if you want to produce power, gas is THE fossil fuel for the future.
And it's flexible enough to offer the right combination with renewables.
As you know, the challenge of energy storage is not solved yet.
Gas would be the perfect future for the energy mix, so we are positioning Total more and more on gas, and I'm convinced that in 35 years,
Total will produce and distribute more gas than oil.
The Stone Age didn't end because of a lack of stones, and the age of oil will not end because of a lack of oil.
The oil which will be produced will be the most competitive oil.
Demand will evolve, you could have some alternative energies.
Again, electric cars... In 20 years, 25 years, you'll see more and more electric cars in big cities.
So you could face a situation where oil growth will stop.
If we are in the 2 degree scenario,
the demand for oil should be lower in 35 years than it is today.
So we want to position Total on the large fields,
which are the fields where we can produce the most competitive oil, because this competitive oil has a future.
The expensive oil probably has a less bright future.
First, we're a major oil and gas company.
Our ambition is to remain, and still to be in 25 years, a major energy company.
I'm convinced we'll continue to be an oil and gas major, but we also want to participate in this evolution of the energy mix which offers a lot of opportunities.
Yes, our ambition, is to have, in 25 years, 20% of this company which will be able to make profits and generate revenues in these new energy fields.
So we have taken some steps, in the solar business, in the storage business, and we are determined to allocate part of the cash flows generated by oil and gas to develop these new fields.
I'm convinced that it's better to see it as an opportunity, not as a threat, and that we can build a bright future for an oil and gas major like Total.


Share this content

  • LinkedinShare