x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Total posts forecast-topping Q2 profit

The French oil major says second-quarter net income surged 39 per cent to ?4.7 billion and beat analysts' forecasts.

An offshore oil rig. High oil prices helped Total's second quarter profits.
An offshore oil rig. High oil prices helped Total's second quarter profits.

PARIS // The French oil major Total said second-quarter net income surged 39 per cent to ?4.7 billion (Dh27bn) and beat analysts' forecasts, thanks to high oil prices and a small increase in production as new fields came on-stream. The result included unrealised gains from a rise in the value of fuel inventories of ?1.154 billion. Stripping this and one-off items out, the underlying result was ?3.723 billion, ahead of an average forecast of ?3.646 billion in a poll of 11 analysts.

"Good clean results ... Better-than-expected upstream production was key to the beat," David Thomas, an oil analyst at Citigroup, said in a research note. Shares in the world's fourth-largest fully publicly traded oil group by market value fell 1.98 per cent to trade at ?48.44 this morning, in line with the fall in the DJ Stoxx European oil and gas sector index. Total's underlying result rose 39 per cent in dollar terms, compared to a rise of 61 per cent at larger British rival BP Plc and a rise of around 25 per cent at Europe's largest oil group by market value, Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

Total again bucked a trend of flat or falling oil and gas production among rivals like Shell, BP and Exxon Mobil. The start-up of its Jura gas and condensate field in the UK North Sea, and of the 90,000 barrel a day Moho Bilondo offshore oil field in the Republic of Congo helped lift Total's output by one per cent to 2.353 million barrels of oil equivalent per day. A 76 per cent year-on-year rise in the price of crude in the second quarter, to an average of around $120 a barrel, underpinned the upstream business of France's biggest listed company with a market capitalisation of just about $180 billion.

The group made no comment on its production outlook. It had previously said this would rise on average by closer to three per cent between 2006 and 2010, rather than four per cent earlier envisaged. *Reuters