French oil group Total has agreed to contribute 102 million euros to help poor French households pay their fuel bills this winter, CEO Christophe de Margerie said. In 2007, Total made a net profit of 12 billion euros thanks to rising oil prices.
French oil group Total on Monday renewed a commitment to help ease the burden of rising fuel costs on poor households and said it would consider increasing its assistance.
Chief executive Christophe de Margerie and Economy Minister Christine Lagarde announced that Total would continue to fund a grant system under which low-income households would receive 150 euros to help with fuel bills.
De Margerie said Total, France's leading fuel distributor, would allocate 102 million euros (160 million dollars) to fund the programme this winter.
Lagarde added that Total was also "committed to giving favorable consideration to increasing the grant, ... which would go from 150 to 200 euros," as proposed by President Nicholas Sarkozy.
The grant was raised from 75 to 150 euros in January and has benefited about 700,000 households.
A government spokesman said later that if the credit were increased to 200 euros it would require an allocation of between 140 and 200 million euros, figures that were not confirmed by Lagarde or Total, however.
Lagarde added that Total would try to "encourage" its foreign counterparts to take part in this "solidarity effort."
Total made a net profit of 12 billion euros in 2007, the highest profit of any French company, albeit slightly lower than the group's 2006 figure.
Oil prices hit a new record of 139.12 dollars per barrel on Friday.
Date created : 2008-06-10