Total Tweaks Energy Portfolio
Two sizeable moves were recently announced by Total, SA (NYSE: TOT – $70.75) that are aimed to strategically alter some of its risk profile. The company put its Canadian oil-sands project on indefinite hold and sold its 10% interest in Shah Deniz field and the South Caucasus Pipeline project in the Caspian Sea. While Total still has a number of risky plays in its portfolio, these recent developments appear to stress profitability over growth, while raising or significantly saving capital. Total, SA also signed an agreement with Russia’s Lukoil creating a 49% joint venture interest to explore and develop the tight oil potential of the Bazhenov play in Western Siberia. The French energy giant also announced a 10-year liquefied natural gas sale and purchase agreement in May with a subsidiary of Pavilion Energy, for the supply of 0.77 million tons per year of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Asia, including Singapore, starting in 2018. In addition, several LNG cargo ships will be deployed prior to 2018 to provide the fuel from Total’s global LNG portfolio. Total is expanding its trading, marketing and logistics businesses to offer its natural gas and LNG production directly to customers. This new project further allows Total to supply its main global customers with gas, while retaining enough flexibility to adapt to demand variations and to seize market opportunities. Supported by its strong dividend (yield 4.6%), the reasonably valued shares are a worthwhile holding in a well-diversified income portfolio.