A debate is raging in European countries over whether oil companies making record profits because of the energy crisis should pay additional taxes to help consumers cope with soaring inflation.
The EU proposal – known as the solidarity contribution scheme – would tax fossil fuel companies on extra profits generated in European countries thanks to the surge in oil and gas prices in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Pouyanne took issue with that definition, saying it should be changed to allow businesses to recoup some of the losses they made in previous years – such as Total’s refinery operations.
“I must confess I am a little surprised by the definition of extra profits in the European text,” he told the lawmakers, adding he had voiced his reservations with French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.
Pouyanne said the group expected to pay about $30 billion in taxes worldwide this year, nearly double the $16 billion it paid in 2021 and a five-fold increase from the $6 billion paid in 2020.
The group, whose second-quarter adjusted net income nearly trebled to $9.8 billion from a year earlier as it benefited from the rise in energy prices, has been criticised by some activists in France for holding on to many of its Russian assets.
Pouyanne told the hearing he expected TotalEnergies would pay taxes on profits earned in France this year. He also said it would pay about 8 billion euros in dividends in 2022, in line with last year.
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