Total in China


Arrival of Total in offshore exploration

The Group enters China in the late seventies. Total and Elf are associated for upstream operations with cross-shareholding in the Bohai and Beibu gulfs. At that time, China is opening up to the world.


Since 1979

  • 1979, Elf Aquitaine, in association with the Compagnie Française des Pétroles, is the first foreign company to sign a framework agreement for offshore exploration with the Compagnie Pétrolière de Chine. The report on the Yellow Sea seismic survey, conducted in association with 33 companies, is being submitted in October, and auctions on the Chinese marine domain of interest to the Group (Yellow Sea, Pearl River, South Yellow Sea) are planned for 1981 and 1982.

  • 1980, a risk-shared research contract is signed on May 19 on an area of ​​9450 km² in the Gulf of Bohai and exploration work begins in November.

  • 1980, May 29, Total signs an exploration-production contract in People's Republic of China.

Total signs an exploration-production contract in the People's Republic of China
  • Elf acquires a 30% interest in the shared-risk contract entered into by the CFP in the offshore Beibu area of ​​the South China Sea. The two French companies have cross interests in these two licenses. They must bear 49% of the total costs. The results will be disappointing on Bohai, which is returned in 1984; however, oil was discovered in the Beibu Gulf.

  • 1986, Total enters a license operated by Oxy in the Pearl River area.

  • In 1986, the development of the Beibu field is complicated but gives rise to a production of 10,500 barrels per day. At the end of the 1980s, Total is also committed to several technical assistance contracts to improve the recovery of the Yanling field in Hebei, to establish a diagnosis on gas exploration in Daqing or Qinhai.

  • 1987, Total signs a technical assistance agreement for the construction of a paraffin hydrotreatment plant in the Shanghai region with IFP and Technip; then the same year Totalgaz engages on a contract for a LPG filling center with the Municipality of Shanghai.

  • 1988, Elf Aquitaine signs an agreement with Sinopec in lubricants.

  • In 1991, Total joins 20% with PetroChina and Sinochem to build a new refinery in Dalian (Liaoning), part of whose production could be exported (commissioned in 1996); Elf signs a three-year agreement with Sinochem, which is, at the time, more advanced than its domestic competitors in the production and trade of petrochemicals.

  • 1993, Total signs an agreement with a Chinese partner to sell LPG. The Group is also seeking to establish a fuel distribution network and engages with Sinochem. Coates creates a JV with a Chinese partner and becomes the No. 1 inks printer in the country. Elf Aquitaine creates a subsidiary to produce plastic additives.

  • 1995, Hutchinson sets up in Wuhan, in the desire to accompany Citroen in China and partners with Dong Feng.

  • 1996, Total accelerates in GPL (creation of a depot in Yantai and a company in Shenzen) and Elf introduces its lubricants. Coates builds its first factory in China in Guangzhou, just like Sigma.

  • 1997, Elf joins forces with Shanghai Pacific Chemical to build a hydrazine hydrate plant.

  • 1998, Hutchinson sets up a rubber extrusion plant the following year, then opens a research center. The same year, Total inaugurates a blending center in Zhenjiang.