31) Financial risks management

Oil and gas market related risks

Due to the nature of its business, the Group has significant oil and gas trading activities as part of its day-to-day operations in order to optimize revenues from its oil and gas production and to obtain favorable pricing to supply its refineries. 

In its international oil trading business, the Group follows a policy of not selling its future production. However, in connection with this trading business, the Group, like most other oil companies, uses energy derivative instruments to adjust its exposure to price fluctuations of crude oil, refined products, natural gas, power and coal. The Group also uses freight rate derivative contracts in its shipping business to adjust its exposure to freight-rate fluctuations. To hedge against this risk, the Group uses various instruments such as futures, forwards, swaps and options on organized markets or over-the-counter markets. The list of the different derivatives held by the Group in these markets is detailed in Note 30) "Financial instruments related to commodity contracts" to the Consolidated Financial Statements.

The Trading & Shipping division measures its market risk exposure, i.e. potential loss in fair values, on its crude oil, refined products and freight rates trading activities using a value-at-risk technique. This technique is based on an historical model and makes an assessment of the market risk arising from possible future changes in market values over a 24-hour period. The calculation of the range of potential changes in fair values takes into account a snapshot of the end-of-day exposures and the set of historical price movements for the last 400 business days for all instruments and maturities in the global trading activities. Options are systematically re-evaluated using appropriate models.

The potential movement in fair values corresponds to a 97.5% value-at-risk type confidence level. This means that the Group’s portfolio result is likely to exceed the value-at-risk loss measure once over 44 business days if the portfolio exposures were left unchanged.

Trading & Shipping: value-at-risk with a 97.5% probability

Table : Trading & Shipping: value-at-risk with a 97.5% probability

As part of its gas, power and coal trading activity, the Group also uses derivative instruments such as futures, forwards, swaps and options in both organized and over-the-counter markets. In general, the transactions are settled at maturity date through physical delivery. The Gas & Power division measures its market risk exposure, i.e. potential loss in fair values, on its trading business using a value-at-risk technique. This technique is based on an historical model and makes an assessment of the market risk arising from possible future changes in market values over a one-day period. The calculation of the range of potential changes in fair values takes into account a snapshot of the end-of-day exposures and the set of historical price movements for the past two years for all instruments and maturities in the global trading business

Gas & Power trading: value-at-risk with a 97.5% probability

Table : Gas & Power trading: value-at-risk with a 97.5% probability

The Group has implemented strict policies and procedures to manage and monitor these market risks. These are based on the separation of control and front-office functions and on an integrated information system that enables real-time monitoring of trading activities.

Limits on trading positions are approved by the Group’s Executive Committee and are monitored daily. To increase flexibility and encourage liquidity, hedging operations are performed with numerous independent operators, including other oil companies, major energy producers or consumers and financial institutions. The Group has established counterparty limits and monitors outstanding amounts with each counterparty on an ongoing basis.

Financial markets related risks

As part of its financing and cash management activities, the Group uses derivative instruments to manage its exposure to changes in interest rates and foreign exchange rates. These instruments are mainly interest rate and currency swaps. The Group may also occasionally use futures contracts and options. These operations and their accounting treatment are detailed in Notes 1) "Accounting policies" paragraph M) "Financial assets and liabilities"20) "Financial debt and related financial instruments", 28) "Financial assets and liabilities analysis per instruments class and strategy" and 29) "Fair value of financial instruments (excluding commodity contracts)" to the Consolidated Financial Statements.

Risks relative to cash management operations and to interest rate and foreign exchange financial instruments are managed according to rules set by the Group’s senior management, which provide for regular pooling of available cash balances, open positions and management of the financial instruments by the Treasury Department. Excess cash of the Group is deposited mainly in government institutions, deposit banks, or major companies through deposits, reverse repurchase agreements and purchase of commercial paper. Liquidity positions and the management of financial instruments are centralized by the Treasury Department, where they are managed by a team specialized in foreign exchange and interest rate market transactions.

The Cash Monitoring-Management Unit within the Treasury Department monitors limits and positions per bank on a daily basis and results of the Front Office. This unit also prepares marked-to-market valuations of used financial instruments and, when necessary, performs sensitivity analysis.

Counterparty risk

The Group has established standards for market transactions under which bank counterparties must be approved in advance, based on an assessment of the counterparty’s financial soundness (multi-criteria analysis including a review of market prices and of the Credit Default Swap (CDS), its ratings with Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, which must be of high quality, and its overall financial condition).

An overall authorized credit limit is set for each bank and is allotted among the subsidiaries and the Group’s central treasury entities according to their needs.

To reduce the market values risk on its commitments, in particular for swaps set as part of bonds issuance, the Treasury Department also developed a system of margin call that is gradually implemented with significant counterparties.

Currency exposure

The Group seeks to minimize the currency exposure of each entity to its functional currency (primarily the euro, the dollar, the pound sterling and the Norwegian krone).

For currency exposure generated by commercial activity, the hedging of revenues and costs in foreign currencies is typically performed using currency operations on the spot market and, in some cases, on the forward market. The Group rarely hedges future cash flows, although it may use options to do so.

With respect to currency exposure linked to non-current assets booked in a currency other than the euro, the Group has a policy of reducing the related currency exposure by financing these assets in the same currency.

Net short-term currency exposure is periodically monitored against limits set by the Group’s senior management.

The non-current debt described in Note 20) "Financial debt and related financial instruments" to the Consolidated Financial Statements is generally raised by the corporate treasury entities either directly in dollars or in euros, or in other currencies which are then exchanged for dollars or euros through swaps issues to appropriately match general corporate needs. The proceeds from these debt issuances are loaned to affiliates whose accounts are kept in dollars or in euros. Thus, the net sensitivity of these positions to currency exposure is not significant.

The Group’s short-term currency swaps, the notional value of which appears in Note 29) "Fair value of financial instruments (excluding commodity contracts)" to the Consolidated Financial Statements, are used to attempt to optimize the centralized cash management of the Group. Thus, the sensitivity to currency fluctuations which may be induced is likewise considered negligible.

Short-term interest rate exposure and cash

Cash balances, which are primarily composed of euros and dollars, are managed according to the guidelines established by the Group’s senior management (maintain an adequate level of liquidity, optimize revenue from investments considering existing interest rate yield curves, and minimize the cost of borrowing) over a less than twelve-month horizon and on the basis of a daily interest rate benchmark, primarily through short-term interest rate swaps and short-term currency swaps, without modifying currency exposure.

Interest rate risk on non-current debt

The Group’s policy consists of incurring non-current debt primarily at a floating rate, or, if the opportunity arises at the time of an issuance, at a fixed rate. Debt is incurred in dollars or in euros according to general corporate needs. Long-term interest rate and currency swaps may be used to hedge bonds at their issuance in order to create a variable or fixed rate synthetic debt. In order to partially modify the interest rate structure of the long-term debt, TOTAL may also enter into long-term interest rate swaps.

Sensitivity analysis on interest rate and foreign exchange risk

The tables below present the potential impact of an increase or decrease of 10 basis points on the interest rate yield curves for each of the currencies on the fair value of the current financial instruments as of December 31, 2014, 2013, and 2012.

Table : Assets/(Liabilities)

The impact of changes in interest rates on the cost of net debt before tax is as follows:

Table : The impact of changes in interest rates on the cost of net debt before tax

As a result of the policy for the management of currency exposure previously described, the Group’s sensitivity to currency exposure is primarily influenced by the net equity of the subsidiaries whose functional currency is the dollar and, to a lesser extent, the pound sterling and the Norwegian krone.

This sensitivity is reflected in the historical evolution of the currency translation adjustment recorded in the statement of changes in shareholders’ equity which, in the course of the last three fiscal years, is essentially related to the fluctuation of dollar and pound sterling and is set forth in the table below:

Table : the fluctuation of dollar and pound sterling and is set forth

Table : 2014 the fluctuation of dollar and pound sterling and is set forth

Table : 2013 the fluctuation of dollar and pound sterling and is set forth

Table : 2012 the fluctuation of dollar and pound sterling and is set forth

As a result of this policy, the impact of currency exchange rate fluctuations on consolidated income, as illustrated in Note 7) "Other income and other expense" to the Consolidated Financial Statements, has not been significant over the last three years despite the considerable fluctuation of the dollar (a gain of €6 million in 2013, a gain of €26 million in 2012 and a gain of €118 million in 2011).

Stock market risk

The Group holds interests in a number of publicly-traded companies (see Notes 12) "Equity affiliates: investments and loans" and 13) "Other investments" to the Consolidated Financial Statements). The market value of these holdings fluctuates due to various factors, including stock market trends, valuations of the sectors in which the companies operate, and the economic and financial condition of each individual company.

Liquidity risk

TOTAL S.A. has confirmed lines of credit granted by international banks, which are calculated to allow it to manage its short-term liquidity needs as required.

TOTAL S.A. has confirmed lines of credit granted by international banks, which are calculated to allow it to manage its short-term liquidity needs as required. As of December 31, 2014, these lines of credit amounted to $10,514 million, of which $10,514 million was unused. The agreements for the lines of credit granted to TOTAL S.A. do not contain conditions related to the Company’s financial ratios, to its financial ratings from specialized agencies, or to the occurrence  of events that could have a material adverse effect on its financial position. As of December 31, 2014, the aggregate amount of the principal confirmed lines of credit granted by international banks to Group companies, including TOTAL S.A., was $11,064 million, of which $10,764 million was unused. The lines of credit granted to Group companies other than TOTAL S.A. are not intended to finance the Group’s general needs; they are intended to finance either the general needs of the borrowing subsidiary or a specific project.

The following tables show the maturity of the financial assets and liabilities of the Group as of December 31, 2013, 2012 and 2011 (see Note 20) "Financial debt and related financial instruments" to the Consolidated Financial Statements).

Table : the maturity of the financial assets and liabilities of the Group as of December 31, 2014

Table : the maturity of the financial assets and liabilities of the Group as of December 31, 2012

Table : the maturity of the financial assets and liabilities of the Group as of December 31, 2012

In addition, the Group guarantees bank debt and finance lease obligations of certain non-consolidated companies and equity affiliates. A payment would be triggered by failure of the guaranteed party to fulfill its obligation covered by the guarantee, and no assets are held as collateral for these guarantees. Maturity dates and amounts are set forth in Note 23) "Commitments and contingencies" to the Consolidated Financial Statements ("Guarantees given borrowings").

The Group also guarantees the current liabilities of certain non-consolidated companies. Performance under these guarantees would be triggered by a financial default of these entities. Maturity dates and amounts are set forth in Note 23) "Commitments and contingencies" to the Consolidated Financial Statements (“Guarantees of current liabilities”).

The following table sets forth financial assets and liabilities related to operating activities as of December 31, 2014, 2013 and 2012 (see Note 28) "Financial assets and liabilities analysis per instruments class and strategy" to the Consolidated Financial Statements).

Table : financial assets and liabilities related to operating activities as of December 31, 2014, 2013 and 2012

These financial assets and liabilities mainly have a maturity date below one year.

Credit risk

Credit risk is defined as the risk of the counterparty to a contract failing to perform or pay the amounts due.

The Group is exposed to credit risks in its operating and financing activities. The Group’s maximum exposure to credit risk is partially related to financial assets recorded on its balance sheet, including energy derivative instruments that have a positive market value.

The following table presents the Group’s maximum credit risk exposure:

Table : the Group’s maximum credit risk exposure

The valuation allowance on loans and advances and on accounts receivable and other operating receivables is detailed respectively in Notes 14) "Other non-current assets" and 16) "Accounts receivable and other current assets" to the Consolidated Financial Statements.

As part of its credit risk management related to operating and financing activities, the Group has developed margin call contracts with certain counterparties. As of December 31, 2014, the net amount received as part of these margin calls was $1,437 million (against $1,105 million as of December 31, 2013 and $2,157 million as of December 31, 2012). 

The Group has established a number of programs for the sale of trade receivables, without recourse, with various banks, primarily  to reduce its exposure to such receivables. As a result of these programs the Group retains no risk of payment default after the sale, but may continue to service the customer accounts as part of a service arrangement on behalf of the buyer and is required to pay to the buyer payments it receives from the customers relating to the receivables sold. As of December 31, 2014, the net value of receivables sold amounted to $3,036 million. No financial asset or liability remains recognized in the consolidated balance sheet after the date of sale.

Credit risk is managed by the Group’s business segments as follow :

Upstream segment

- Exploration & Production

Risks arising under contracts with government authorities or other oil companies or under long-term supply contracts necessary for the development of projects are evaluated during the project approval process. The long-term aspect of these contracts and the high-quality of the other parties lead to a low level of credit risk.

Risks related to commercial operations, other than those described above (which are, in practice, directly monitored by subsidiaries), are subject to procedures for establishing and reviewing credit.

Customer receivables are subject to provisions on a case-by-case basis, based on prior history and management’s assessment of the facts and circumstances.

-  Gas & Power

Gas & Power deals with counterparties in the energy, industrial and financial sectors throughout the world. Financial institutions providing credit risk coverage are highly rated international bank and insurance groups.

Potential counterparties are subject to credit assessment and approval before concluding transactions and are thereafter subject to regular review, including re-appraisal and approval of the limits previously granted. 

The creditworthiness of counterparties is assessed based on an analysis of quantitative and qualitative data regarding financial standing and business risks, together with the review of any relevant third party and market information, such as data published by rating agencies. On this basis, credit limits are defined for each potential counterparty and, where appropriate, transactions are subject to specific authorizations.

Credit exposure, which is essentially an economic exposure or an expected future physical exposure, is permanently monitored and subject to sensitivity measures. 

Credit risk is mitigated by the systematic use of industry standard contractual frameworks that permit netting, enable requiring added security in case of adverse change in the counterparty risk, and allow for termination of the contract upon occurrence of certain events of default.

Refining & Chemicals segment

–  Refining & Chemicals

Credit risk is primarily related to commercial receivables. Internal procedures of Refining & Chemicals include rules for the management of credit describing the fundamentals of internal control in this domain. Each division implements procedures for managing and provisioning credit risk that differ based on the size of the subsidiary and the market in which it operates.

The principal elements of these procedures are:

  • implementation of credit limits with different authorization procedures for possible credit overruns;
  • use of insurance policies or specific guarantees (letters of credit);
  • regular monitoring and assessment of overdue accounts (aging balance), including collection procedures; and
  • provisioning of bad debts on a customer-by-customer basis, according to payment delays and local payment practices (provisions may also be calculated based on statistics).

Counterparties are subject to credit assessment and approval prior to any transaction being concluded. Regular reviews are made for all active counterparties including a re-appraisal and renewing of the granted credit limits. The limits of the counterparties are assessed based on quantitative and qualitative data regarding financial standing, together with the review of any relevant third party and market information, such as that provided by rating agencies and insurance companies.

–  Trading & Shipping

Trading & Shipping deals with commercial counterparties and financial institutions located throughout the world. Counterparties to physical and derivative transactions are primarily entities involved in the oil and gas industry or in the trading of energy commodities, or financial institutions. Credit risk coverage is concluded with financial institutions, international banks and insurance groups selected in accordance with strict criteria.

The Trading & Shipping division has a strict policy of internal delegation of authority governing establishment of country and counterparty credit limits and approval of specific transactions. Credit exposures contracted under these limits and approvals are monitored on a daily basis.

Potential counterparties are subject to credit assessment and approval prior to any transaction being concluded and all active counterparties are subject to regular reviews, including re-appraisal and approval of granted limits. The creditworthiness of counterparties is assessed based on an analysis of quantitative and qualitative data regarding financial standing and business risks, together with the review of any relevant third party and market information, such as ratings published by Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s Investors Service and other agencies.

Contractual arrangements are structured so as to maximize the risk mitigation benefits of netting between transactions wherever possible and additional protective terms providing for the provision of security in the event of financial deterioration and the termination of transactions on the occurrence of defined default events are used to the greatest permitted extent. 

Credit risks in excess of approved levels are secured by means of letters of credit and other guarantees, cash deposits and insurance arrangements. In respect of derivative transactions, risks are secured by margin call contracts wherever possible.

Marketing & Services segment

Internal procedures for the Marketing & Services division include rules on credit risk that describe the basis of internal control in this domain, including the separation of authority between commercial and financial operations. Credit policies are defined at the local level, complemented by the implementation of procedures to monitor customer risk (credit committees at the subsidiary level, the creation of credit limits for corporate customers, portfolio guarantees, etc.).

Each entity also implements monitoring of its outstanding receivables. Risks related to credit may be mitigated or limited by subscription of credit insurance and/or requiring security or guarantees.

Bad debts are provisioned on a case-by-case basis at a rate determined by management based on an assessment of the risk of credit loss.