I can't say coal is the enemy of gas yet: Total CEO

FRENCH supermajor Total, part of the club of European oil giants praising gas for having half the carbon emissions of coal, wants to finalise its South African coal exit as soon as possible.

Blair Price

Last year Total agreed to sell this division to Exxaro Resources for $US472 million ($A605 million) but it still needs South African regulatory approval.

“I still have a coal business and I have to get out of it,” Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne said at a Paris-based press conference this week.

“I can’t say that coal is the enemy of gas and then continue to produce coal like some of my colleagues. I will get out of coal.”

Total Coal South Africa produced 3.3 million tonnes of coal in 2014 across its three mining complexes in the Witbank/Highveld Coalfields region.

“Total believes TCSA will have the opportunity to maximise its long term potential with a new strategic coal investor,” Total’s head of gas, Laurent Vivier, said of the deal 11 months ago.

“Total remains committed to South Africa, through its activities in marketing and refining, solar and deep offshore exploration.”