How TotalEnergies is decarbonizing

TotalEnergies is decarbonising its maritime operations in multiple levels – its operations, with new technologies and with new fuels. Sebastian Rosse explained how, speaking at a DNV webinar

TotalEnergies (formerly Total) is a major oil and gas producer, tanker charterer, and a fuel supplier. It is decarbonising its maritime operations in multiple directions, including in better vessel operations, with energy efficient technologies, and with alternative fuels.

Sebastian Rosse, general manager shipping performance and innovation, TotalEnergies Trading and Shipping, explained how, speaking at DNV’s Maritime Energy Transition Summit on Feb 7.

TotalEnergies sees its work to decarbonise shipping as part of wider efforts to decarbonise its oil and gas production and transport, he said.

“TotalEnergies has the ambition to be a major player in the energy transition.”

On TotalEnergies’ own vessels, the focus is “to optimise and take the best out of existing ships and available technologies while preparing the fleet for the future,” he said.

Three levels

“We work simultaneously on three levels. The first is the optimisation of our operation and voyage execution; the second is working on energy efficiency technologies and ship design; the third is working on alternative fuels,” he said.

For the first level, optimisation of operation and voyage execution, TotalEnergies sees that there are a number of different approaches which can lead to reduced fuel consumption, which have a low capital expenditure, he said.
Digital tools can be helpful. “We feel that data is still very underused by our industry,” he said. For example, TotalEnergies managed to implement energy efficiency monitoring on its fleet “with minimum investment.” Weather routing services could be used to optimise the voyage and route “to shave off a few percent.”

For the second level, energy efficient technologies and ship design, there is “plenty of low hanging fruit with limited capex, short payback,”he said. For example, low friction paint, variable speed drives for heavy electrical consumers, using batteries and air lubrication.

“We are running a rotor sail on one medium range tanker to test the relevance of this technology for our business,” he said.

Then, there are many options requiring higher financial commitments. As the costs of emitting carbon grow, such as under the EU Emission Trading Scheme, “all of them are showing shorter and shorter payback,” he said.

Alternative fuels

For the third ‘level,’ alternative fuels, TotalEnergies is keen on LNG.

“We see LNG as a transition fuel, the best mature technology available, with a bunkering network in the main hubs. We started several years ago with this technology. Today we charter 11 LNG dual fuel oil tankers. This is the fuel of choice for new orders today.”

TotalEnergies calculates that its LNG fuelled VLCC has half the greenhouse gas emissions of a similar vessel in 2008. Figures for LNG carriers are “roughly the same.” This is the result of improving energy efficiency and voyage optimisation, as well as changing fuel.

“It is not perfect though. I have in mind the methane slip issue. The industry is committed to work on it. Significant improvements are already achieved and further to come.”

TotalEnergies recently decided to diversify its portfolio of alternative fuels, such as including methanol. “We confirmed several comments for methanol dual fuel newbuild tankers in various smaller size segments, ships hitting the water starting next year and onwards,” he said.

“Biofuels is another solution which is echnically and commercially available today. We work closely with our affiliate TotalEnergies Marine Fuel, which has a marine biofuel supply chain.”

“Again, like LNG, nothing is perfect.

With biofuel one of the pain points is limited availability for shipping. Our industry must be very cautious on feedstocks and tradeability of he biofuel,” he said.

“Collaboration is key in this maritime ourney,” he said. “We will not be able to do anything in isolation, this is crystal clear. All the nitiatives can only materialise when we partner with right and likeminded stakeholders.”

For example, to build an LNG dual fuel ship, “you need a first-class shipyard, equipment manufacturers, class society. You need to partner with the right shipowner who is readyto commit, invest long term money, invest in training of the crew. This is something new for he seafarers.”

TotalEnergies’ role

As a charterer, “we use our strong balance sheet and creditworthiness to commit long term on inovative projects,” he said. “That allows us to enable these projects to materialise.”

For a vessel on time charter, TotalEnergies is in charge of bunkering the ship, and carries the risk that the required fuel is not available. This factor “is very relevant for alternative fuel,” he said.

TotalEnergies is also aiming to facilitate trials of new technologies on its time-chartered fleet. It has already done tests of biofuel and a shipboard carbon capture system on an LNG carrier.

“We look seriously into opportunities to invest and support, technically and financially, the development of decarbonisation technologies,”he said.

TotalEnergies is also a fuel producer and supplier. “This gives us an additional level to provide and support decarbonisation,” he said.

Data sharing

The company would like to see better data exchange between parties. “Our industry needs data transparency. This is key to gaining mutual knowledge and awareness,” he said.

“We are a signatory and founding member of Sea Cargo Charter, to encourage and promote this transparency and shipping decarbonisation in general.”




TotalEnergies is comfortable working with the EU Emission Trading Scheme because it has been working with it for many years with its facilities onshore, such as refineries.

“We see this ETS cost being passed to the charterer. So, it was a matter of incorporating this new tax into the trading value chain and to manage our exposure.”

“So far it has been a smooth implementation on the ETS side. We have developed and implemented the right tool,” he said.

More generally, “We believe monetary incentives are good drivers and powerful instruments for decarbonizing,” he said.

“All the technologies and new alternative fuels we care about are more expensive than the current fossil fuel. Without a sustainable and economically viable business case, most initiatives will remain voluntary, and stay very limited.”

“For large deployment and uptake of the decarbonisation solutions, the industry needs an international playing field without loopholes with the right carbon price, maybe in combination with a fuel measure like Fuel EU Maritime.”




  LMB-BML 2007 Webmaster & designer: Cmdt. André Jehaes - email