Total Readies Itself for Big Mena Push

Copyright © 2021 Energy Intelligence Group

• After a long history in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) Total sees new opportunity in the region, with its advantaged oil and gas set to offer value through the energy transition. • The French major also sees potential in the region to develop low-carbon projects involving solar, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage (CCS). • 2021 is poised to be a pivotal year, with decisions looming both on the selection of partners for Qatar’s LNG mega-expansion and a planned multiproject initiative in Iraq. The Issue Total sees the Middle East – with its economies of scale, and low-cost, low-emissions output -- as a natural port of call for any producer wishing to futureproof itself against the threats posed by the energy transition and peak demand. But where the company stands apart from its European peers is that it is still targeting significant oil and gas growth, albeit as a smaller proportion of its overall portfolio. Meanwhile, Total has another advantage over its peers in that it has a solid head-start in terms of its solar ambitions in the Mena region. Gas Push Total is prioritizing gas and LNG. In its major new projects in Qatar, Oman and Iraq, the French major has either targeted LNG or gas, or added a gas element. But a gas focus alone will not be sufficient to meet the company’s target of reducing scope 1 and 2 (i.e. operational) emissions by 40% by 2030 (from 2015 levels). This will require its production to be radically decarbonized. To achieve this decarbonization Total is prioritizing the rollout of solar power generation at new oil and gas projects. Wherever possible it is complementing this renewable power generation push with CCS and hydrogen. As well as “solarizing” its gas projects, in Qatar and Iraq Total is looking to build additional solar capacity for these nations’ grids. Doha -- which aims to be the lowest-carbon, as well as the lowest-cost, LNG producer globally -- is planning a significant carbon capture scheme for its 32 million ton per year LNG mega-expansion (EIF Nov.18’20). Commercial bids from short-listed majors, including Total, are due May 24, with a decision on participation expected by year's end. Meanwhile, Total is in talks to help build a CCS component as part of its Omani LNG bunkering project; here, a hydrogen project is also being discussed. Total is tailoring its value proposition for a rapidly evolving investment market. Gulf NOCs are quickly embracing low-carbon technologies and any provider that can credibly sell itself as being able to deliver a suite of such decarbonization solutions is likely to have a competitive advantage (EIF Mar.24’21). Total’s Iraqi solar deal is particularly striking. This and the Ratawi gas project, which aims to capture gas from several fields both in and outside of Basrah province, underline how even the region’s worst gas flarer and worst environmental producer is finally waking up to the threat faced by its oil and gas industry from the energy transition. Total: Key New Mena Project Targets Country Project Growth/Scale Status UAE Lower Zakum Boosting output from approx

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