PARIS: French oil giant Total on Wednesday announced a 4.0 percent slide in net profit in the second quarter while increased output, costs savings and improved refinery margins helped offset plunging oil prices.
The group said it would exceed its projected $1.2 billion (1.09 billion euros) in cost savings this year, adding that it sold off 20 percent of its Laggan-Tormore gas fields north of Scotland for nearly 800 million euros.
Energy groups have been slashing their investments in a bid to shore up earnings, as crude prices have collapsed by about 60 percent since June 2014.
Total announced a net profit of $2.97 billion in the April to June period, compared with $3.1 billion in the second quarter of 2014.
Analyst predictions collated by FactSet had averaged $2.85 billion.
“The 12 percent increase in production over the past year demonstrates that our growth strategy is working” despite the shutdown of Total’s LNG gas terminal in conflict-torn Yemen “for security reasons,” the group said in a statement.
Total owns 40 percent of the installation, which it closed in April.
The multi-national announced hydrocarbon production of 2.3 million barrels of oil equivalent per day for the second quarter.
Production has been boosted by new projects and interests, including in Angola, Britain, Russia and Abu Dhabi.
Separately, Total announced that it had sold a 20 percent interest in its Laggan-Tormore natural gas field to British group Scottish and Southern Energy for 565 million pounds, or nearly 800 million euros ($885 million).
Total, which had held 80 percent of the field, announced in April its intention to sell 20 percent of it under its plan to shed $5.0 billion in assets this year in the face of falling oil prices.
It intends to divest another $5.0 billion by 2017.
Last month the group announced it was selling its 16.67 percent stake in the Schwedt refinery in northeastern Germany to Russia’s Rosneft for $300 million.
“Total is pursuing discussions for the sale of several other assets,” the statement said.