PARIS, (AFP) — French oil giant Total said on Friday its second-quarter net profit fell 54 percent from the figure 12 months earlier to 1.7 billion euros (2.38 billion dollars) as crude prices tumbled.
The results were above analyst forecasts for a quarterly net profit of 1.89 billion euros, as polled by Dow Jones Newswires.
And they were largely in line with those of other oil majors which have all been hit by the sharp decline in oil prices since mid-2008.
Oil prices hit a record 147 dollars per barrel in July 2008 but then fell steadily before recovering in the past few months to around 65-70 dollars.
Total said its production was down seven percent, reflecting lower output levels agreed by OPEC, and a decline in demand due to the global economic downturn.
Total’s daily output during the three months was 2.18 million barrels.
For the six months to June, net profit fell 45 percent from the equivalent figure last year to 3.83 billion euros. In the first quarter earnings were down 35 percent.
Oil prices have recovered this year but gas prices have fallen and refinery margins were down sharply as demand has slumped due to the global economic crisis, chief executive Christophe de Margerie said in a statement.
First-half capital investment came to seven billion euros, in line with the level last year while asset sales, mainly Sanofi-Aventis shares, raised 1.14 billion euros.
In early trading, shares in Total, the biggest listed company in France, were down 2.46 percent to 39 euros while the Paris market slipped 0.21 percent.