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Shell and TotalEnergies Eye Greener Pastures: The Big Apple’s Stock Exchange

Posted by John Donovan: 7 May 2024

Oh, the drama! TotalEnergies and Shell, those titans of the oil industry, are having a little daydream about moving their stock listings to the flashy stages of Wall Street. Why, you ask? Their current market valuations are as deflated as a punctured oil barrel. Boo-hoo.

In a tragic tale of European neglect and American allure, these two energy behemoths are feeling undervalued back home—kind of like ageing movie stars pining for one last blockbuster. TotalEnergies, the belle of France, is so distraught that even Patrick Pouyanné, the CEO, is openly mulling over a move. He confessed in an earnings call, “There was a discussion with the board.” Yes, folks, they’re “seriously looking at it” because, let’s face it, America is where the big-money parties are.

And then there’s Shell, Europe’s largest energy company, acting all coy about a potential move. Their new boss, Wael Sawan, hints that while hopping across the pond isn’t on their immediate to-do list, it’s not out of the question. They’ve already shifted their HQ from The Hague to London, and now they’re sizing up a bigger leap—straight into Uncle Sam’s welcoming arms.

Why the American dream? Well, the U.S. is out-pumping everyone in oil and blowing up in the liquefied natural gas game. Meanwhile, Europe is letting its oil wells cough and sputter out, and European governments are throwing sceptical glances at the fossil fuel fiesta.

And here’s the kicker: American energy giants like Exxon Mobil and Chevron are strutting around with valuation metrics that make the Europeans look downright shabby. Shell and TotalEnergies want in on that action, because, as we all know, nothing soothes the corporate ego like a fat stock price.

Poor Europe, though. If these two pack up for the States, it’ll be a slap in the face to their home exchanges. France’s finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, is already throwing a fit, promising to block TotalEnergies’ exit. “I’m here to make sure that doesn’t happen,” he declared, probably while dramatically waving a French flag.

The idea isn’t just about feeling the love from American investors; it’s about having the clout to snatch up other companies and expand their oily empires. You know, because nothing says “innovation” like buying up your competition.

As Shell’s Mr Sawan put it during his May 2nd charm offensive to analysts, “We have a duty of care to look at all opportunities to bridge that valuation.” Translation: We’re going to flirt with every stock exchange until our stock price gets the boost it desperately needs.

So, there you have it—another day in the life of the global energy soap opera. Will they stay or will they go? Stay tuned for the next thrilling update from the world of Big Oil’s boardroom antics!

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