Total bets on the fossil fuel with the least emissions: natural gas

The world population is increasing, and energy needs are growing all the time. Meeting these needs will require affordable, reliable and clean energy, as well as a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Total has incorporated these multiple challenges into its strategy.
In the field of hydrocarbons, natural gas is one of our solutions to this two-sided challenge and represents nearly 50% of our production.1

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    Vega Pleyade offshore gas and condensate field off the coast of Tierra del Fuego in Argentina.

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    Marco, a geologist, in front of the ICS-X1 well at the condensate gas field, Incahuasi, in the Chaco region in Bolivia.

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    Aerial view of the plant. Shetland Gas Plant in Sullom Voe, Laggan-Tormore in the United Kingdom.

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    The first well for developing Ichthys LNG was drilled in February 2015.

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Total: Now a major player in gas

Total produces gas in 24 countries and maintains a presence along the entire oil and gas chain, from extraction to end-customer sales, and from liquefying and transporting gas to regasification and trading. Electricity production is one of the primary uses of our gas production. 

Our expertise allows us to meet some serious human and technical challenges. In Argentina, off the coast of Tierra del Fuego, our offshore platform Vega Pleyade operates a gas deposit located in rough waters where winds can reach 180 km/h and temperatures plunge to -20°C in winter. Reserves in our Incahuasi field in Bolivia are buried more than 5,600 metres underground, in the mountainous Andes region, with steep inclines in excess of 30°. In northern Russia, we are partners in the gas and condensate field Termokarstovoye, which is composed of multilayer reservoirs deeply buried beneath permafrost (ground that is frozen year-round), under extremely isolated conditions with swampland that is inaccessible during certain times of the year and where temperatures drop to -50°C in winter.

Our mission: To expand our development into natural gas

By 2030, there will be more than eight billion people on the planet. Providing all of those people with transportation, lighting, and heat will require increasing amounts of energy. The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts a 30% increase in world energy demand.  

Coal represents 28% of the world's energy consumption but its use accounts for approximately a third of the planet's CO2 emissions. At Total, we believe natural gas is an efficient alternative: it emits half the CO2 of coal when generating electricity.2 In terms of electricity production, gas is also the best resource to complement renewable energy, filling in gaps and offering backup during peak consumption. It is also an abundant resource. According to our estimates, there are more than three trillion barrels of oil equivalent, enough to last 150 years at current rates of consumption.

Total has chosen to withdraw entirely from coal and gradually increase the ratio of natural gas in our energy mix. In 2005, natural gas represented 33% of our hydrocarbon production; today, it represents close to 50%. Our goal is to continue increasing the role of natural gas in our mix in the years to come.

Innovating to reduce our environmental footprint

Natural gas presents significant advantages in the fight against global warming yet continues to meet the growing needs of the world's population. But we must still work to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases it emits, even though it emits significantly less than coal.2 That is why Total strictly controls the methane emissions of its gas production. Since 2005, we have been using an external audit company to monitor emissions. In 2014, Total joined the United Nations Environment Program's Climate and Clean Air Coalition to more effectively measure, manage, and mitigate emissions of methane.


1 Production of hydrocarbon (kb/d): 2,452 in 2016
Liquid (kb/d): 1,271 in 2016
Gas (Mcf/d): 6,447 in 2016

2 CIRAIG report: “GHG Emissions Related to the Life Cycle of Natural Gas and Coal in Different Geographical Contexts” – June 2016

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