Skip to content

The history of TOTAL


The key dates: from the major discovery for France of the Lacq gas reservoir to the construction of the CSTJF site in Pau.

  • CSTJF timeline - 1951
    Discovery of the Lacq gas reservoir: Drillers working for the French National Society of Aquitaine Oils (SNPA) were looking for oil and discovered gas at a depth of 3,450 m. Producing it was to prove a real challenge…
  • CSTJF timeline - 1957
    Gas production in Lacq: the industrial adventure begins! The Lacq gas processing plant was opened in April. It had a processing capacity of 1 million cubic meters per day. It was increased in stages to reach 33 million in 1975.
  • CSTJF timeline - 1958
    Inauguration of Mourenx, a new town: Mourenx, the first new town in France, rose up from an area of wasteland, 5 km from the Lacq gas plant, to house the workers and their families. The housing area was built using audacious architectural features reminiscent of the post-war boom...
  • CSTJF timeline - 1975
    Creation of the Bearn region industrial management company, SOBEGI: while in the local press, Lacq was dubbed “the French Texas”, a real production complex was constructed around a chemical industry hungry for gas or its derivatives. In 2020, the SOBEGI manages the industrial platforms in Mourenx and Lacq.
  • CSTJF timeline - 1986
    Creation of the Lacq Research Group GRL: This economic interest group was shared between Arkema and Total Petrochemicals France in 2004. Established in 1959, the part now owned by the Group is the Platform for Experimental Research in Lacq (PERL) linked to the CSTJF/R&D department.
  • CSTJF timeline - 1989
    Inauguration of the CSTJF: The center for research and leading expertise built to the north of Pau, bears the name of one of the engineers who discovered the Lacq gas reservoir. The 27-hectare site is now has 5,000 m² of laboratory space and 30,000 m² of office space for 2,900 employees of 65 different nationalities.
  • CSTJF timeline - Today
    The Lacq basin is a dynamic area where the Group has a strong presence: PERL, SOBEGI, Total Quadran, etc. The story continues with the CSTJF and its internationally-renowned major innovations.


The discovery of the Lacq gas reservoir provided natural gas for all of France. It transformed the entire region. The chemical and sulfur production activities around the gas field, revolutionized the region. Research centers were built to tackle the different challenges.

The Jean Féger Scientific and Technical Center (CSTJF), an international center of excellence and expertise for responsible and sustainable production, is one of the Group’s showcase sites.

It was inaugurated in Pau (64) in 1989 and bears the name of one of the engineers who discovered the Lacq gas field. The CSTJF is now the nerve center for research and development for Total’s exploration and production activities. It is also a main player in local socio-economic dynamics.

The Platform for Experimental Research in Lacq (PERL), is an internationally renowned site and part of the CSTJF’s cluster of R&D centers.


Whether local or national, our history is closely linked to that of our region and country from both a human and collective standpoint. Find out all about the wealth of our shared heritage, through a series of articles and videos.