May 4, 2020 / 3:34 AM / a month ago

France's Total looks to expand in Australia selling power

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - France’s Total SA (TOTF.PA) is seeking to expand its power retailing business in Australia from the middle of this year as part of a global plan to sell electricity to nine million sites by 2023.

Total already sells power to the Gladstone liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, in which it is a stakeholder, and wants to supply electricity to other large customers across Australia’s eastern states, it said in an application to the Australian Energy Regulator.

“TGPAU’s proposed target market is the very large customer end of the market (for example industrial and government customers),” Total Gas & Power Australia (TGPAU) said in its application.

The application was filed in March and released by the regulator on Monday for public comment.

Total told Reuters it was applying for the licence to sell to large customers that would be interested in contracting green power.

It added it was developing renewable power generation activities through its Total Eren subsidiary, which is currently building a 256 megawatt solar farm in Australia.

“The quantities are foreseen to be limited, they should not exceed 2 terawatt hours annually (TWh) in the foreseeable future, compared with its sales of around more than 50 TWh in Europe,” the company said.

The oil and gas major is targeting a similar market as rival Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L), which last year entered the Australian power industry taking over ERM Power, the country’s No.2 energy retailer to businesses and industry.

As of 2018, Total said it sold 37 TWh of electricity to more than 5 million customers and traded 250 TWh of electricity in 11 countries.

Total’s footprint in Australia includes stakes in the Ichthys LNG project in northern Australia, solar farms in Victoria and New South Wales and a battery project in Western Australia.

Reporting by Sonali Paul, additional reporting by Bate Felix in Paris; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Mark Potter

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