Total profits slip despite output rebound

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Total profits slip despite output rebound
Reuters/ Published: August 02, 2007, 23:15

Paris: French energy group Total posted a drop in second-quarter profits yesterday as a dip in gas prices and unfavourable exchange rates outweighed a rebound in its hydrocarbon production.

The world’s sixth-largest oil major by market capitalisation reported a net income of 3.10 billion euros ($4.24 billion) – adjusted to strip out gains from changes in the value of fuel inventories and one-off items – down from 3.36 billion a year ago but slightly above a 3.05 billion average analyst forecast.

Total bucked an industry-wide trend of falling oil and gas output as its new 220,000 barrel-per-day Dalia field in offshore Angola came on stream, helping to lift quarterly production by 1.4 per cent to 2.322 million barrels of oil equivalent.

Total said underlying production growth, excluding changes to its portfolio and Opec output cuts, was 3.5 per cent.

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The Paris-based group declined to comment on the outlook for full-year volumes until a strategy update on September 5. Although output was higher in the first half it was capped by Opec cuts, disruptions in Nigeria and a halt in production at its Congo Republic’s 60,000-bpd NKossa offshore oilfield.

“I cannot confirm any target now,” Chief Financial Officer Robert Castaigne said.

Total said in February output should grow less than 6 per cent in 2007, trimming a previous target of 7 per cent.

“We are very successful in our new projects but on the other hand there is the impact of the Opec quotas plus NKossa and the situation in Nigeria. I prefer to wait a little more to have a better view on every area before giving more information.”