Electric mobility, generational divide, Tilenga and EACOP projects: Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of TotalEnergies, gives straight answers to the questions from the French people.
Thierry: I ask my question like this?
What are TotalEnergies’ investments in the electric mobility?
Patrick Pouyanné: Our investments in electricity and e-vehicles represent our biggest contribution to the energy transition, with the sum invested currently standing at over €4 billion. Notably as regards e-vehicles, we’ve adopted a multi-pronged approach. First, we’ve entered the e-vehicle batteries arena by investing in Gigafactories, factories with mass production capacity, the first of which is in northern France. For that, we’re working with car manufacturers Stellantis and Mercedes. We are involved in this business through our affiliate, Saft, which is part of the Company. Secondly, of course, “e-mobility” means charge points and EV chargers. We’ll soon have installed one thousand HPCs, i.e. ultra-rapid charge points, here in France. So yes, we’re investing heavily in electric mobility so that everyone can make the switch to EVs and access charging solutions. Not only on motorways, with the aim being to equip over 160 motorway service stations with EV charge points, covering the whole of France, but also in urban environments where we’re setting up EV hubs, a new and innovative type of station, where you’ll only find EV charge points for your car. They’re located in town and city centers, as that is where the market is currently gaining traction the fastest. We see electricity as the energy of the 21st century. Electricity is what will enable us to tackle climate change and decarbonise the energy mix. That is why TotalEnergies has decided to build an extensive portfolio of activities in electricity, which will account for around 20% of our business by 2030.
Olivia: Hi, my name’s Olivia, and I’ve got a question for Mr Pouyanné: would you say there’s a generational divide between young people, who are supportive of change, and older generations, who aren’t?
Patrick Pouyanné: The way I see things is that everyone was young once. Young people are always fighting for change. It was the same when I was young. It’s totally normal; when we’re young, we strive for some form of idealism. I’d say that the climate issue certainly raises questions that can cause generations to clash, which is fundamentally not that great. Older generations aren’t actually against change, but it’s basically as though you’re saying to them that they’ve been sitting back and doing nothing for years, and now they need to be pillars of change as you’re going to inherit a planet where life won’t be so great any more. I have no problem taking that criticism on the chin. But what I want young people to do, the young people who come to work for TotalEnergies, is to give their elders the motivation to implement change more quickly. As you know, the older generation isn’t oblivious to the climate issue. One of the reasons why Total has become TotalEnergies and is investing so heavily in renewable energy is that we realised that the climate issue is very important. We’ve all got kids your age, so when we’re discussing and debating these issues, it’s as parents. That obviously influences our choices. We’re all citizens of the world, we’re not just employees. Rather than focusing on a divide, we should focus on how we can come together and inspire people. What I want young people to do is to encourage the older generation to implement change more quickly.
Baptiste: Hi, my name’s Baptiste, and I’ve got a quick question for Mr Pouyanné, which is: Why are you investing in project like the one in Uganda? What do you think of the related scientific reports?
Patrick Pouyanné: Why have we chosen to invest in a project in Uganda that backs new oil-focused initiatives? It’s because today, there is actually an ever-growing demand for oil. The scientific reports don’t say that we must stop producing oil. The scientific reports say that we must target Net Zero by 2050. With that in mind, we have to determine which path to follow in order to stay on track to hit the Net Zero target that we’ve set for TotalEnergies. The problem is that today’s energy, the energy we use on a daily basis, comes from fossil fuels. And if we don’t develop new oil fields, production decreases by 3% each year. We consequently have to invest in new projects, like the one in Uganda. Can I just add that Uganda is a poor country, and the fact that it happened to discover its oil reserves after other countries shouldn’t take away its right to develop those reserves in order to make investments to help the local population. It’s a multifaceted issue. Scientists are telling us that we must target Net Zero. I believe them, and we’ve pledged to do just that. TotalEnergies is, indeed, committed to championing renewable energy. But at the same time, we must continue producing the energy everyone uses for their cars, planes and boats, all of which are powered by oil. That’s the reasoning behind our investment in Uganda.