TotalEnergies shareholders renewed the directorship of Chairman and CEO Patrick Pouyanné for three years at a general meeting held on Friday, May 24 and which, like last year, sparked demonstrations against the climatic consequences of the group’s activities. His mandate as director was renewed with 75.7% of the votes cast, compared to 77.4% during his last renewal, in 2021.

Shareholders also approved TotalEnergie’s carbon balance sheet and strategy, with a voting level (79.72%) down compared to the scores of around 89% recorded during the 2023 and 2022 AGMs.

During the general assembly, Patrick Pouyanné reiterated that it was “necessary” to put “new” oil fields into production. “The question is not so much when oil demand will start to fall as when it will fall by more than 4% per year,” he estimated. “At this point, the demand for oil continues to grow as the world’s population does,” he said.

« Climaticide »

From 9 a.m., Greenpeace activists displayed a banner on a building a few hundred meters from the group’s headquarters showing Mr. Pouyanné “wanted by civil society.”

The police were present in large numbers in the La Défense business district and, faced with the “risk” of disturbances to public order, the Paris police prefect had issued an order prohibiting undeclared demonstrations around the Dome tower.

TotalEnergies says it chose its 48-story tower, rather than a Parisian room, to avoid “immobilizing a district of Paris” – as during the 2023 edition, punctuated by clashes between demonstrators and police. A year later, the pressure has not subsided. In the streets or in court, the group remains under fire from criticism, with climate defenders accusing it of worsening global warming and harming biodiversity and human rights, due to its activities in gas and oil.

“We denounce the expansion strategy of TotalEnergies, which is still oriented towards the development of fossils, despite a green discourse,” explains Edina Ifticene, campaigner against fossil fuels at Greenpeace.

An argument shared by more than 300 scientists, including experts mandated by the United Nations (UN), signatories to an article in Le Monde describing TotalEnergies’ strategy as “climaticide”.

Mobilization in front of Amundi premises

Hundreds of activists also demonstrated early Friday afternoon in Paris in front of the premises of asset manager Amundi, where its general meeting was held in the morning, accusing it of being one of the main shareholders of the major oil group TotalEnergies. On the square, activists unfurled flags, a “Liquidation Total” banner, chanted slogans against TotalEnergies, surrounded by numerous police officers.

“The initial idea was to disrupt the TotalEnergies general meeting, as has been the case for three years,” explains Lou Chesné, spokesperson for Attac France, specifying that “a large-scale operation was planned.” . But faced with the “significant police deployment” around the TotalEnergies headquarters, the activists decided to turn to the Montparnasse district where the Amundi building is located, “one of the main shareholders of TotalEnergies and which bears its share of responsibility”, she explains.

Last year’s demonstration in front of the TotalEnergies AGM having “been repressed very harshly, this year the idea was to avoid putting the demonstrators in danger,” she added. The demonstrators were joined by public figures, the environmentalist MP Sandrine Rousseau, the head of the list of “rebellious” in the European elections Manon Aubry, and Claire Nouvian, founding director of the NGO Bloom.

Earlier in the morning, several dozen people had forced their way into the Amundi headquarters, a police source said. Damages were committed and security agents injured, according to the same source. “The Amundi general meeting was able to come to an end, despite disruptions to demonstrations, some of which were very violent towards property or people,” reacted a spokesperson for the group.

One hundred and thirty-three people were arrested after the disruption of the asset manager’s general meeting. “Damages and violence were committed,” added the police headquarters, specifying that “ten private security agents were injured”, including nine “transported to hospital”.

Patrick Pouyanné looks towards New York

Patrick Pouyanné, at the helm for ten years, chaired this meeting against a backdrop of controversy after his statements on a possible relocation of the main listing of the group from Paris to the New York Stock Exchange, triggering the wrath of the political class, from Bruno Le Mayor to Emmanuel Macron.

On Friday, Mr. Pouyanné solemnly repeated in front of his shareholders that there was “no question (…) of leaving France”. “TotalEnergies will retain its headquarters in France, its listing in France, our attachment to France is real and I do not need to justify it,” he declared, adding: “One idea is simply to be able to offer American investors the same TotalEnergies ordinary shares that we offer to our European shareholders. »

As if to appease the critics, he mentioned Thursday in Le Figaro a “translation error”: he did not want to talk about a main listing on Wall Street but about a transformation into classic shares of securities already traded in a form reserved for foreign companies. Mr. Pouyanné highlights the fact that Americans buy more shares than Europeans, constrained by sustainable investment rules.

The CEO repeats that TotalEnergies is “the oil group most involved in the energy transition”. A third of its investments are dedicated to low-carbon energy, including 95% renewable electricity.

But, in September, the think tank Carbon Tracker estimated that “only” the Italian oil company Eni had emissions reduction targets “potentially” aligned with the Paris agreement. TotalEnergies came second before Repsol and BP, far ahead of the Saudi Aramco and the American ExxonMobil.