TotalEnergies is a multi-energy company that produces and markets fuels, natural gas and electricity. The company is committed to better energy that is more affordable, more reliable, cleaner and accessible to as many people as possible. In Bulgaria, TotalEnergies is active through its retail activities. It is also actively looking at natural gas exploration opportunities in the country and also aims to establish itself as a key player in the local renewable energy market. Miroslav Ilijevski is the company’s Country Chair in Bulgaria.
Mr. Ilijevski, TotalEnergies aims to be a world-class player in the energy transition and to get to net zero in 2050, together with society. What is the company’s strategy to achieve it?
To achieve this ambitious goal, TotalEnergies must act on two fronts: avoid and reduce our emissions while offering a less carbon-intensive energy mix. The company is integrating this shift into our strategy by dedicating an important part of our investments to solar and wind power, with the aim of joining the world's top five producers of renewables by 2030. Moreover, it is also promoting natural gas, hydrogen, and biogas to decarbonise transport, not to mention the investments in biofuels. Finally, in a volatile hydrocarbon market, TotalEnergies’ strategy is to invest selectively and at competitive production costs with one goal: to prioritise the quality of our investments over the quantity of projects.
However, decarbonising the energy mix will not be enough to eliminate all emissions. That is why TotalEnergies also needs to capture residual carbon through carbon sinks, whether they are “natural”, or via carbon capture and storage (CCS) facilities.
Finally, sustainable transformation also means involving our customers in our ambition to become carbon-neutral in order to collectively reduce our emissions. In other words, it is a matter of offering them products and energy solutions that are less and less carbon-intensive to also help them reduce their own carbon footprint.
How will the Bulgarian business contribute to TotalEnergies goal of becoming one of the world’s top five producers of renewable energy?
TotalEnergies’ top management has selected Bulgaria to be one of the priority markets for the development of renewable businesses of the company. In practical terms, this means that we will be looking to invest in the development, co-development or acquisition of renewable projects in the country, with focus on large-scale solar farms, onshore and offshore wind projects, or energy storage solutions.
Does TotalEnergies already have active renewable energy projects in Bulgaria?
As of today, the company only has an indirect presence in the renewable energy market in the country through its interest in Total Eren, whose affiliate NovEnergia has been present in Bulgaria since 2007. NovEnergia currently operates two PV plants in the country – Dabovo and Vinogradets with total production capacity of 14,4 MWp.
Going back to the group’s ambition regarding energy transition, TotalEnergies has been especially focused on natural gas as a transitional energy source. What is gas’ current share in the group’s total energy mix and do you plan on keeping that focus?
Indeed, for TotalEnergies, natural gas is a key energy source for the transition. It plays a major role in power generation thanks to its flexibility and ability to meet the rapid growth in demand, fuelled by the electrification of uses. With 42 Mt sold in 2021, TotalEnergies is the world's third-largest LNG company in the world. This represents about 48% of the company’s energy mix in 2021.
TotalEnergies is committed to transitioning from fossil fuels to renewables but is the world prepared to phase out fossil fuels completely?
Instead of completely phasing out the hydrocarbons, perhaps it is more important for the world to prepare the new, sustainable “net zero energy system”. This is what TotalEnergies believes in.
Namely, in its 1.5°C scenario, the International Energy Agency is aiming for carbon neutrality by 2050, which requires a 39% reduction in net energy emissions between 2015 and 2030. This can be achieved through the implementation of various strategies.
TotalEnergies is aligned with this scenario and describes our 2050 vision of a company for which renewable electricity will account for half of its production, new carbon-free molecules from biomass (biofuels and biogas) or renewable electricity (hydrogen and e-fuels) will represent a quarter, and hydrocarbons (oil and gas) the remaining quarter, with residual emissions fully captured, recycled, or offset. For TotalEnergies, therefore, reinventing a net zero energy system means producing carbon-free electrons and molecules and developing carbon sinks to absorb CO² from residual hydrocarbons.