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Total S.A.

This French Company is one the fourth largest “supermajor” oil company. It had revenue in 2010 of $229 billion. Its headquarters are in Paris France. It has holdings in 55 countries and employs over 92,000 people as of 2010.


The company was founded after World War I when French Prime Minister Raymond Poincare preferred to create a French oil company rather than partnering with Royal Dutch Shell. The company shifted name several times in the 1990s, finally settling on Total in May 2003.

Holdings and Industry Segment

The company is involved in both upstream and downstream segments of the oil industry. It has reserves amounting to roughly 10.5 billion barrels of oil and holds interest in 25 refineries, 12 of which it operates directly. Most refineries are located in Western Europe, with one being located in Texas. Its refining capacity is 2.6 million barrels of oil per day.

Beyond pure petroleum products, the company has strong investment in chemicals made from petroleum, particularly fertilizers. The company also makes rubber and resins and has assembled electroplating activities. Most of the company’s petrochemical sites are located in Belgium, France, and the United States.


In 2010 of the company posted total revenues of $229 billion, an operating income of $15 billion, and total profits of over $15 billion. The company was initially created as a combined private passion government-controlled venture. As of 1992, the French government still held 5% of the shares in Total.


In terms of environmental damage, Total has the best reputation in the industry. In terms of corporate correction however, the firm has been part of several scandals. Most significantly, Total has been able to operate a natural gas pipeline in Myanmar despite the European Union to sanctions against the military dictatorship in that country for use of civilian slave labor. Total is currently the subject of a lawsuit in French and Belgian courts as a result of this activity.