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 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 40 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 the 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.