France's Total Q3 profit up 47 percent

AP News
Posted: Oct 29, 2010 4:59 AM
France's Total Q3 profit up 47 percent

France's Total SA, Europe's third-largest oil company, said Friday that third-quarter profits rose 47 percent thanks to higher oil prices and increased production.

The company said it made a profit of euro2.8 billion ($3.9 billion) in the quarter, up from euro1.9 billion in the comparable period last year, when earnings were hit by slumping demand and prices during the global recession.

The boost reflected higher oil and gas prices, the profitability of new production and better performance in the chemicals business, the company said.

Production was up 4 percent for the quarter, to 2.34 million barrels of oil equivalent a day. It cited progress during the quarter in exploration and production, including the launch of a field in Angola and the purchase of stakes in projects in Canada and Australia.

Chairman and CEO Christophe de Margerie said the company "confirms the momentum of the past several quarters."

Total shares dropped 0.66 percent to euro38.80 in early trading in Paris.

Oil companies are seeing profits jump as oil prices rebounded from 2009. Being able to sell crude barrels at higher prices has offset unexpected drilling expenses and a drop in Gulf of Mexico production that some companies have begun to see following BP's giant oil spill earlier this year.

Several other major oil companies reported earnings a day earlier. Exxon Mobil Corp. said income jumped 55 percent in the third quarter while Royal Dutch Shell PLC reported a net profit rise of 6.5 percent for the peroid.