French oil major Total has announced a deal to buy Direct Energie, continuing its expansion into the residential gas and electricity market. Direct Energie’s board has approved the oil company’s plan to acquire three quarters of the energy retailer’s capital for €1.4bn. Patrick Pouyanné, chief executive and chairman of Total said this transaction “is part of the group’s strategy to expand along the entire gas-electricity value chain and to develop low-carbon energies.” Experts expect this move to be a game changer in the French market as Total becomes the third player with 3m customers after EDF and Engie. The French oil company said the acquisition will help establish its position as a “leading alternative supplier” of natural gas and electricity by adding Direct Energie’s 2.6m clients to its existing 1.5m customer base. Investment in power generation and supplies provides a long-term hedge against the threat posed to oil demand by the rise of electric vehicles, while the consumer energy market also provides an outlet for the companies’ growing natural gas production. – Financial Times

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