Total Say That They've Done Well Compared To Their Larger Rivals

Total Fina Elf, the third largest of the European oil companies, has said that first quarter earnings fell less than bigger rivals' as output jumped by seven percent and limited exposure to the US softened the effect of falling prices in that market. Net income expressed in dollars slumped by forty percent, the Total Chairman Thierry Desmarest said in a statement. The decline in earnings per share, figured in euros, was about a third because of stock buybacks. Royal Dutch Shell Group, Europe's biggest oil producer, reported a forty two percent decline in first quarter net income. Net earnings at the number two producer, BP, plunged by sixty nine percent, reflecting its high exposure to the US market. Paris based Total gets about nine percent of its revenue in the US, where natural gas prices and margins on fuel sales dropped more steeply than elsewhere during the quarter, this is compared with almost half at BP. Investments in countries such as Angola underpinned growth that outstripped BP's and Shell's more than fivefold. ”It's a good performance compared with rivals like BP,” said Antoine Leurent, an analyst at KBC Securities. “They were able to compensate for a difficult environment by raising the volume of oil and gas production.”

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