The French group more than doubled its net profit in the second quarter, to 5.7 billion dollars, against 2.2 billion in the same quarter of 2021.

“The effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on energy markets continued into the second quarter, with oil prices exceeding $110 per barrel on average in the quarter,” commented TotalEnergies CEO Patrick. Pouyanné, quoted in a press release from the group.

This surge in markets benefits the entire oil and gas industry globally. The British giant Shell thus published on Thursday a net profit multiplied by five in the second quarter, to 18 billion dollars.

These massive profits have fueled a debate in France on the advisability of taxing them, as Italy and Spain have done. The National Assembly, however, narrowly rejected on Saturday the idea of ​​​​a tax on the “superprofits” or “exceptional profits” of large multinationals – in particular oil companies –, despite protests from the left and the far right.

Instead, TotalEnergies announced a discount of 20 euro cents per liter of fuel at the pump between September and November in all its service stations, then 10 cents per liter for the rest of the year. This rebate will be added to the 30 centimes rebate financed by the State budget.

– “War profiteers” –

“The government has refused exceptional taxation of profits linked to the rise in energy”, regretted Thursday the PS deputy Valérie Rabault, citing the 18.8 billion in adjusted net profit earned by TotalEnergies over the first six months of the year. “Compared to the 500 million granted for the reduction in the price at the pump”, she added on Twitter.

“The government is content with a rebate of 500 million euros. More than ever, the tax on superprofits must be put in place”, claimed the deputy LFI Manuel Bompard.

“When you fill up your car to go to work or go on vacation, remember that every penny will be used to fatten a shareholder. And that the State has done nothing to freeze prices. Only one solution: tax these war profiteers!”, attacked the communist Fabien Roussel.

There is “already a tax that exists on profits”, retorted on Franceinfo Aurore Bergé, patroness of Renaissance deputies. France is “the European country, just after Denmark, which has the highest level of compulsory levies”, she argued, pleading for “stability” in tax matters.

The TotalEnergies group highlights its “shareholder return policy”, with a 5% dividend growth and new share buybacks in the third quarter, which will automatically enrich shareholders.

Announcements, however, insufficient for the markets. The TotalEnergies share fell 3.42% on the Paris Stock Exchange at the end of the morning, in a market down 0.29%.

The amount of the share buyback program “may be disappointing for some investors,” said Biraj Borkhataria at RBC Capital Markets. The analyst judged the results “correct, but without fireworks”.

The profit for the second quarter was achieved despite a new provision of 3.5 billion dollars related to the potential impact of international sanctions on the value of the stake held in the Russian group Novatek, said TotalEnergies.

This comes on top of a $4.1 billion write-down in the first quarter on several Russian assets, including the stake in the Arctic LNG 2 project. The group’s business in Russia, where TotalEnergies no longer invests in new projects, remains essentially concentrated around liquefied gas from Yamal LNG.

Excluding the exceptional items announced on Thursday, adjusted net income reached 9.8 billion dollars in the second quarter, against 3.5 billion a year earlier. In the first half, the 18.8 billion in adjusted net profit represents almost three times that of the first half of 2021.