In the midst of a debate on the superprofits of energy companies on climate crisis funds, and while the French political class is debating a possible tax, TotalEnergies has already reaped more profits in nine months than last year: 17.3 billion dollars against 16 billion in all last year.

“So much the better”, immediately rejoiced the Minister of the Economy Bruno le Maire at the microphone of BFM Business.

“We should all be proud to have a large energy company that is French like Total”, said the minister, stressing that his earnings make it possible to “pay a discount on fuel” to French motorists, and “to increase salaries of Total”.

The group has indeed announced a 13th month for all its employees worldwide, and has just signed an agreement to increase wages in France with two majority unions after a long strike in its refineries which continues to create fuel shortages in French service stations.

Two sites of the group remained on strike Thursday, at the call of the CGT union.

In a press release sent in advance on Wednesday, the collective for its part denounced “new obscene profits” from TotalEnergies “to the detriment of populations and the planet”, stressing that the group “responsible for some of the projects of most destructive fossil fuel exploitation on the planet” continues to “profit ruthlessly from the war in Ukraine”.

– 9.9 billion without Russia –

Oil and gas have largely boosted the group’s profits. The average price of liquefied natural gas (LNG), on which TotalEnergies has been betting for several years, soared 50% compared to the second quarter, while Europe, deprived of Russian gas, sought to fill its reserves for the ‘winter.

The profit was made despite a new provision of $3.1 billion related to risks on Russia, after provisions of $7.6 billion in the first two quarters.

“In a context marked by an average Brent price of $100 per barrel and gas prices exacerbated by Russia’s military aggression in Ukraine, TotalEnergies has been able to take advantage of its integrated model, particularly in gas liquefied natural gas (LNG), to generate results in line with previous quarters”, commented the CEO of the group Patrick Pouyanné in a press release.

The gas and renewables sector achieved a “record” adjusted net operating income in the quarter of $3.6 billion, up $1.1 billion from the second quarter, the statement said.

Even though the group’s LNG production fell by 6% in the third quarter over one year and its total LNG sales fell by 10% this quarter compared to the previous quarter due to maintenance or production stoppages in various factories, total LNG sales increased by 5% over one year “due to the increase in spot purchases to maximize the use of TotalEnergies’ regasification capacities in Europe”, explains TotalEnergies.

For the coming months, the group is counting on the support for oil prices, notably from the decision of the OPEC countries to lower production quotas by 2 million barrels per day and on gas prices “which should remain high, driven by the need to import LNG into Europe to replace Russian gas imports”.

Excluding exceptional items including provisions due to Russia, the group’s adjusted net income reached 9.9 billion dollars in the quarter, higher than the expectations of a consensus of analysts from Factset who forecast 9.6 billion.