Total (ToT) is a French oil and gas company. In January 2014, Total Exploration & Production announced it would invest in fracking exploration in the UK - the first such investment by a major oil company. The move boosted confidence in the sector and its partners' share prices.
Fracking partnership in the UK
Total's licences are for a 240sq km area around the town of Gainsborough, that has been drilled for oil and gas for decades but only recently explored for its shale gas potential.
Total has a 40% share in a licence in the Midlands currently operated by US firm eCorp. Chief executive of eCorp International, John Thrash said: "The entry of this highly respected global shale operator into the UK shale gas exploration effort is a watershed event, not only for the UK, but also, we believe, continental Europe."
- The company's partners are a subsidiary of Dart Energy Europe, which has come under attack from environmentalists for applying for coal-bed methane wells in Scotland, plus Egdon Resources UK, eCorp, and IGas, which has been the target of a sustained campaign against by anti-fracking groups at its Barton Moss site in Salford.
- Leon Brittan declared his role as a member of Total's international advisory board until September 2014
Meetings with ministers
According to the Guardian, between 2010 and 2014 fossil fuel companies Total, BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Chevron and trade organisation Oil & Gas UK had at least 230 meetings with ministers. This figure is a significantly higher number than meetings with renewable energy companies and their campaign groups - with Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth having just 67 meetings between them.
- Member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Unconventional Oil and Gas (which in 2014 is run by lobbying and PR firm Hill and Knowlton Strategies. Previously by Edelman).
- Task Force on Shale Gas (UK) - listed as a funder of this 'independent' group set up in October 2014, whose secretariat is lobbying and PR company Edelman
- Rob Evans, Helena Bengtsson, Damian Carrington and Emma Howard Shell and BP alone eclipse renewable energy sector on access to ministers Guardian, 28 April 2015, accessed 29 April 2015.
- Register of All-Party Groups (As at 18 August 2014), parliament.co.uk
- Register of All-Party Groups (As at 2013), parliament.co.uk