French Total booked a 44-percent improvement in its second-quarter net profit on the back of record-high quarterly oil and gas production, the company said today. At US$3.6 billion, the adjusted net figure translated into earnings per share of US$1.31, up 36 percent on the year.
Total pumped an average 2.7 million barrels of oil equivalent daily in the second quarter, which was 8.7 percent more than in the second quarter of 2017. CEO Patrick Pouyanne attributed the healthy increase to the acquisition of Danish Maersk Oil and the production increase in projects including Yamal LNG in Russia, Moho Nord in the Republic of the Congo, and Fort Hills in Canada.
The French company also boasted a 35-percent increase in cash flow from operations, to US$6.2 billion, for the second quarter, although for the first half of the year, its free cash flow position declined by 11 percent to US$8.3 billion.
Like its peers, Total reaped the benefits of higher oil prices this year, which helped it carry out its share buyback program, Pouyanne also said at the presentation of the company’s results.
While sticking to its core business of producing oil and gas, Total has been expanding into renewable energy as well to improve its positioning for the future since the 2014 oil price crash. It has also been focusing on growing its natural gas exposure as well. The latest acquisitions here include utility Engie’s LNG business, which made the French company number-two in LNG globally, and, this week, the purchase of two gas-fired power plants in France, owned by KKR-Energas.
With its strong focus on gas, which also included the French company’s entry into Russian Novatek’s Arctic LNG-2 project earlier this year, the decision to quit the giant South Pars gas field in Iran must have stung. However, Total could not stay in Iran after President Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, not least because of its sizeable presence in the U.S. oil and gas industry and the substantial exposure to the U.S. banking system, characteristic of all Big Oil majors.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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