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Total SA was incorporated in 1924, when it was known as the French Petroleum Company.  Within two decades it had become an “integrated” company, involved in exploration, production, refining and marketing of oil and gas products.  After World War II it began extensive operations in French colonies in Africa—notably Algeria and the Gulf of Guinea—where it remains a major oil player.  In 1999 Total took over Petrofina (originally, the Belgian Petroleum Company), which, earlier in the ‘90s, had briefly held an exploration license in Uganda.  The following year Total also took over its rival French company, Elf Aquitaine.

Today, Total has operations in more than 130 countries, and is one of the world’s “supermajor” energy companies.  It engages in all aspects of the petroleum industry, including petrochemicals and fertilizers for industrial and consumer markets. It also has interests in the coal mining and power generation sectors, including renewable energies, notably solar-photovoltaic power.

Total is an important player in East Africa’s Great Lakes region.  In addition to its recently acquired interests in Uganda, it has stakes in exploration and production in Kenya, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In 2010 the company reported revenues of 159 billion Euros (US$ 209 billion) and profits of 10.6 billion Euros (US$ 13.9 billion)

Total is listed on the Paris and New York stock exchanges.