Total says weak US dollar dents Q2 profits

AP News
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Posted: Jul 29, 2011 6:59 AM
Total says weak US dollar dents Q2 profits

French oil company Total SA said Friday that the weakening U.S. dollar hit its second-quarter profits but that successful exploration in Bolivia and Angola would help to underpin future growth.

France's largest company by market value said in a statement that it made a net profit of euro2.73 billion ($3.89 billion) in the second quarter, down 12 percent from euro3.1 billion from the same quarter last year.

Europe's third largest oil company behind Royal Dutch Shell and BP said its closely watched adjusted profit expressed in dollars to aid industry comparisons was up 7 percent to $4 billion in the second quarter, compared to $3.76 billion a year earlier.

Oil giants including Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell also reported higher second quarter earnings this week.

In the April-June period, Exxon's profits jumped 41 percent to $10.7 billion, the biggest since Exxon hit a corporate earnings record of $14.8 billion in the third quarter of 2008. Shell's net income nearly doubled to $8.7 billion and BP earned $5.6 billion compared with a loss of $17.2 billion last year.

Total said its production slipped 2 percent in the second quarter to 2.31 million barrels a day from 2.36 million a year earlier. Scheduled maintenance shutdowns and disruptions from the war in Libya caused much of the decline.

The French company has pledged to invest $20 billion this year, mainly to seek out new development projects in oil, gas and renewable energy.

The company recently took control of U.S.-based solar panel maker SunPower Corp., in a deal that values the San Jose, California, company at $2.3 billion.

Total said it expects the first results of several "high-potential exploration wells" in the second half, and said it is also pursuing development in new producing areas in Australia and Russia. It said the startup of a deep offshore well in Angola in the fourth quarter "is expected to contribute substantially" to the company's near term production growth.

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Greg Keller can be reached at http://twitter.com/Greg_Keller