Royal Dutch Shell Plc  .com Rotating Header Image

Daily Telegraph: Royal calls for tax on Total’s profits

Daily Telegaph

(Total’s new chief Christophe de Margerie)

By Paul Willis

Record profits from oil company Total have renewed calls from the French presidential candidate Ségolène Royal for a special windfall tax on “excess” oil profits. 

The oil giant today unveiled record 2006 figures, with adjusted net profit rising 5pc to €12.59bn (£8.2bn) and the company increasing its full-year dividend 15pc to €1.87 per share.

The rises came despite a dip in production, higher costs and exploration spending, and weaker oil prices in the final quarter. Total said adjusted net income fell 10 percent to €2.74bn in the final quarter of 2006 after €3.05bn in the same period of 2005. Annual sales were €153.8bn.

The record profits – which translate to around £250 per second – came as the world’s fourth largest oil company was put under pressure to defend its earnings.

France’s Socialist party, under Ms Royal, is calling for a tax on “excess” oil profits, as part of its campaign for elections scheduled to begin in April. The outgoing Total chief executive Thierry Desmarest was forced to defended the company’s earnings at a joint presentation.

advertisement”Yes we make €12bn, but I’d like to remind you that we pay our taxes and that we only generate 5pc of our profits on French soil,” said M. Desmarest, who is being succeeded by Christophe de Margerie.

Last year, conservative Finance Minister Thierry Breton ruled against the idea of levying a windfall tax on Total.

“The figure announced by Total today reinforces the need for this measure. Furthermore, there need to be talks with Total so that it invests part of its profit in renewable energy, which is the energy source of the future,” said Bruno Rebelle, Ms Royal’s adviser on environmental affairs.

Total’s result compares with an 11pc rise in fourth-quarter net profit at Royal Dutch Shell, a 12pc drop at BP, and a 4.3pc fall at ExxonMobil. The French oil giant said it would invest around £8bn in 2007 – 75pc of which would be dedicated to exploration and production.

Last year, its production fell 2.5pc on the year to 2.4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day amid disruptions in Nigeria and lower volumes from production-sharing agreements.

M. de Margerie – nicknamed “Big Moustache” for his prominent whiskers – is seen as a skilful diplomat on the global oil stage but someone with a smaller political powerbase at home. After comparisions between him and his predecessor M. Desmarest, who was seen as more reserved, he quipped: “Having a nice moustache doesn’t make you more intelligent or open.” and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

0 Comments on “Daily Telegraph: Royal calls for tax on Total’s profits”

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: