TotalEnergies has paused plans for a massive green power and hydrogen spree with Adani, the Indian conglomerate at the centre of a $70 billion stock market meltdown.

Last year, the French supermajor set its sights on helping create “the largest green hydrogen ecosystem in the world” by taking a 25% stake in Adani New Industries (ANI), the unit leading billionaire Gautam Adani’s hydrogen plans.

But after the Adani Group sent financial shock waves around the world last week when it became the target of claims of “brazen fraud”, TotalEnergies chief executive Patrick Pouyanne said: “It was announced [but] nothing was signed.

“Mr Adani has other things to deal with now, it’s just good sense to pause things,” Pouyanne was reported saying.

TotalEnergies has several alliances with Adani spanning its fossil and clean energy operations. ANI’s first project was due to be a 2 gigawatt electrolyser powered by 4 GW of wind and solar at a cost of $5 billion.

Adani Group saw its listed companies plunge in value after a report from US research group Hindenburg ahead of a subsequently scrapped $2.5 billion share issue by its Adani Enterprises unit, with claims that the conglomerate had engaged in “brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud”.

Adani Group has hit back at the claims which it described as false and designed to underpin profits from short selling.

‘Double-edged sword’

The fallout from the Adani meltdown has seen questions over potential damage to India’s wider green energy ambitions as investors take fright.

Tim Buckley, director of think tank Climate Energy Finance, told Upstream’s renewables sister title Recharge: “The expansion by one of the largest investors in energy transition in India is now severely curtailed. But this is a double-edged sword.

“The Adani group is also one of the largest private new fossil fuel project investors in the world, and with almost all of that in India.

“As such, India will need to invest faster in zero emissions domestic clean energy infrastructure, given the largest new coal mine and coal power developer in India is now out of the picture for some time at least.”

Buckley added: “Adani had been crowding out other investors in the Indian grid T&D, renewable manufacturing and wind and solar installation markets, given they always were likely to get early access to more favourable deal flow, limiting other players access and incentive to invest fast in India. So there could well be a very silver lining for India’s decarbonisation objectives.”

This development was first reported by Upstream’s sister title Hydrogen Insight on 8 February 2023.

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