In the midst of a debate on the superprofits of oil and gas companies responsible for CO2 emissions, TotalEnergies announced this Thursday a new record profit in the third quarter, of 6.6 billion dollars, benefiting mainly from the surge in gas prices since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Eight days before the opening of the COP27 international climate conference, where energy companies are called upon to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, TotalEnergies has announced that it has made more profits in nine months than last year: 17, 3 billion dollars against 16 billion in all in 2021. In the third quarter, its profit increased by 43% compared to the same quarter of 2021.
“So much the better”rejoiced the French Minister of the Economy Bruno le Maire at the microphone of BFM Business. “We should all be proud to have a large energy company that is French like Total”, said the Minister, emphasizing that his winnings made it possible to “pay a fuel discount” to French motorists, and “to increase the salaries of Total”.
The group has indeed announced a 13th month for all its employees worldwide, and has just signed an agreement to increase wages in France with two majority unions after a long strike in its refineries which continues to create fuel shortages in French service stations.
TotalEnergies estimates it could pay a billion euros in the EU
TotalEnergies has also estimated at one billion euros the amount of the new European solidarity contribution on the profits of energy groups that it would have to pay in six countries of the European Union, including Belgium, in 2022 if it were implemented. applied everywhere.
“We estimate the impact of the European solidarity tax at one billion euros” in 2022, said the group’s financial director Jean-Pierre Sbraire during a meeting with analysts after the publication of the group’s results for the 3rd quarter. “We will be impacted by this European solidarity tax in six countries in Europe: France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, mainly on our refining activities, as well as the Netherlands and Denmark” for exploration and production activities, the official said.
Belgium and Germany would be the “main beneficiaries”
While the debate on the “superprofits” of oil and gas companies is in full swing in Europe, the European Commission indicated at the end of September that it wanted to demand a “temporary solidarity contribution” to the producers and distributors of gas, coal and oil who are making massive profits thanks to the surge in prices following the war in Ukraine. It must be set at 33% of the share of the superprofits of 2022, i.e. profits more than 20% higher than the average for the years 2019-21, while taking into account the measures taken by the States taxing these benefits already.
The Commission took care not to use the word “tax” because any new tax provision at European level would have required the unanimity of the Twenty-Seven, a more complicated and risky procedure than adoption by qualified majority.
According to economist Maxime Combes of the Observatoire des multinationales, Belgium and Germany would be the “main beneficiaries” the European tax paid by TotalEnergies (between 256 and 409 million dollars for Belgium, and between 135 and 216 million dollars for Germany).