Safety, gas, renewables, value and Africa are the five words for the future of Total
In an exclusive interview with EnergyBoardroom, conducted at Total’s headquarters in Paris, Patrick Pouyanné, the company’s recently appointed CEO, outlined his strategy for the future direction of the company.
“…in no circumstances can a company like Total accept to jeopardize its employees’ safety”
First on the list of topics to discuss are Total’s immediate priorities, safety and cash flow: global political unrest and an unexpected drop in the oil price have forced these two items to the top of the agenda, but Pouyanné was optimistic about facing both challenges head-on. “We operate in countries like Yemen where security threats have arisen; in no circumstances can a company like Total accept to jeopardize its employees’ safety,” he explained, before going on to outline the company’s commitment to reducing risk across its global theater of operations.
When talking about cost cutting, Pouyanné remained upbeat, saying that although the drop in the oil price seems like an inescapable conclusion today, just a few months ago very few people would have predicted it. “Things had escalated to the point that many in the industry had forgotten that when working with commodities, it was essential to carefully manage your expenses and your cash break-even,” Pouyanné admits. “In that sense this ‘crisis’ might be beneficial. We are seizing this opportunity to introduce spending cuts where we deem appropriate.”
Pouyanné also addressed the question of whether today, the supermajors, Total included, are ‘too big to fail’: “I refute the concept of ‘too big to fail’! The world of energy is changing very fast. Our size may prevent us from collapsing in the short term, but we must remain extremely cautious and acknowledge what economic signals are expressing. If you look at the 50 largest companies 15 years ago, half of them disappeared. The energy sector itself has undergone unprecedented changes in the last fifteen years.”
“I refute the concept of ‘too big to fail’!”
The CEO of Total also went on to mention the highlights of the company’s current investment phase, and the projects that would be very important for the company in the years to come, including those in Russia, the UK, Australia, Angola, Congo and Nigeria.
“Safety, gas, renewables, value and Africa are the five words for the future of Total,” Pouyanné concluded. To find out more about those topics, and to read the interview in full, click here.