Total buys French biogas producer Fonroche Biogaz in green push

Total SE agreed to buy closely held French biogas producer Fonroche Biogaz, the latest step in its diversification away from fossil fuels.

The French oil and gas giant and its European peers are increasingly investing in clean power and renewable fuels amid mounting pressure from investors, governments and consumers to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Fonroche Biogaz is one of the largest renewable gas producers in France, with a market share of more than 10 per cent, Total said Monday in a statement. Its seven units across the country turn organic waste such as animal manure into biomethane, and have a capacity of almost 500 gigawatt-hours a year.

“Renewable gas has a key role to play in the energy transition” and will become more competitive in the next few years, Philippe Sauquet, Total’s president of gas, renewables and power, said in the statement. “We intend to produce 1.5 terawatt-hours of biomethane a year by 2025 and Fonroche Biogaz is therefore the cornerstone of our development in this market.”

Total didn’t disclose the terms of the transaction.

Chief executive officer Patrick Pouyanne said in October that the company would consider an acquisition to enter the renewable gas market. Its European gas-fired power plants will run on more than 10% biomethane by 2030 to reduce carbon emissions, the company has said.

In December, Total signed a memorandum of understanding with Clean Energy Fuels Corp. to develop renewable gas projects in the U.S. By 2030, Total plans to produce 4 to 6 terawatt-hours of biomethane a year.

Total has invested $8 billion since 2016 in battery manufacturing, power utilities, solar and wind projects. It intends to increase spending on electricity and clean energy to become one of the top five renewables companies by the end of the decade.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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