11.09.15. French oil major Total is selling its majority stake in Géosel Manosque (Géosel) for €265 million to a consortium of EDF Invest and investment firm Ardian.

Géosel owns the Manosque underground salt cavern storage in the department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, 90km north of Marseilles. Pipelines link the facility to oil terminals and refineries at Marseilles Fos and Lavéra. With a capacity of close to 9 million cbm, Géosel’s facility is one of the largest of its kind in Europe. It represents about 20 percent of France’s total hydrocarbon storage capacity and is primarily used to store around 40 percent of the country’s strategic oil reserves.

Under the agreement, Total is selling 50 percent plus one share of its 53.4 percent stake, and will remain a minority shareholder with 3.4 percent.

The oil firm will continue to use the infrastructure, mainly to ensure supply for its refining facilities in southern France. The other shareholders are Basell Polyolefines France (26.7 percent) and Petroineos Manufacturing France (19.9 percent).

“The sale of this infrastructure asset is part of our programme to sell US$10 billion in assets by 2017 and reflects Total’s active portfolio management strategy,” commented Patrick de La Chevardière, chief financial officer of Total.

Created in July 2013, EDF Invest is the unlisted investment arm of French utilities group EDF’s Dedicated Assets, the asset portfolio which covers its long-term nuclear decommissioning commitments in France.

It also owns a minority stake in TIGF, a gas transport and storage company in south-west France.

11th September 2015