France’s Total lifts shareholder dividends as profit jumps

Fourth-quarter net profit at the French oil company rose 19 percent to $2.9 billion, compared with analysts’ average forecast of $2.8 billion. (Reuters)
Updated 08 February 2018
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France’s Total lifts shareholder dividends as profit jumps

PARIS: Higher production drove a 28 percent rise in net profit at Total last year, allowing the French oil and gas group to hike dividends and announce plans to buy back shares.
Adjusted net profit came in at $10.6 billion (SR39.75 billion), helped by a five percent rise in production.
The company said on Thursday it would increase dividends by 10 percent over the next three years, with the 2018 interim dividend rising 3.2 percent. It also said it planned to buy back up to $5 billion of stock over 2018-2020.
Total shares were up 1.7 percent in early trading, outperforming a 0.6 percent decline in the STOXX Europe 600 Oil & Gas index.
Fourth-quarter net profit rose 19 percent to $2.9 billion, compared with analysts’ average forecast of $2.8 billion. Oil output, however, came in slightly below analysts’ mean estimate.
“The numbers were good. In Total’s case, they’ve got enough cash to increase capex and do a share buyback, so it all looks reasonably positive,” said Clairinvest fund manager Ion-Marc Valahu, who owns Total shares.
Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne said Total planned some $2 billion of acquisitions in 2018, and the company would return to normal staff hiring patterns after a three-year freeze.
Rival BP said earlier this week its 2017 profit more than doubled to $6.2 billion on the back of higher oil prices and output, allowing the British firm to resume share buybacks, as it too recovers from a three-year oil downturn.
However, US groups Exxon Mobil and Chevron posted rare quarterly earnings misses this month, hit by weakness in international refining operations.
Total’s market value of around €115 billion puts it roughly on a par with BP, but below Exxon, Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell, according to Thomson Reuters data.


Aramco committed to meeting future oil demand, says Saudi energy minister

Updated 17 August 2018
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Aramco committed to meeting future oil demand, says Saudi energy minister

  • Aramco has discovered two new oil fields, Sakab and Zumul, and a gas reservoir in the Sahba field
  • World’s top oil exporter is also boosting its output of the natural gas needed to meet rapidly rising domestic power demand

DUBAI: Saudi state oil giant Saudi Aramco remains committed to meeting future oil demand through continued investments, the kingdom’s Energy Minister Khalid Al Falih said in a company report on Friday.
Aramco, which is slated for a public share sale, “continued to prepare itself for the listing of its shares, a landmark event the company and its board anticipate with excitement,” Al Falih, who is also chairman of Saudi Aramco, said.
Despite an improved market picture, the oil industry’s preparedness for the future remained in question as the sector had lost an estimate $1 trillion in planned investments since the start of the market downturn, Al Falih wrote.
“Significant new investments are required in additional capacity and expended and upgraded infrastructure, as well as the development of pioneering technology to make petroleum energy more sustainable and accessible,” he said.
The company discovered two new oil fields, Sakab and Zumul, and a gas reservoir in the Sahba field, Aramco said in the report.
Aramco said “it will maintain its position as the world’s leading crude oil producer by production volume by tempering production from mature fields, accelerating younger fields and secondary reservoirs, and developing fresh reserves from new increments.”
The world’s top oil exporter is boosting its output of the natural gas needed to meet rapidly rising domestic power demand and supply raw materials to its strategically important petrochemical industry.
In gas, Aramco “commenced projects to expand production and processing capacity, and brought online the first unconventional gas in Saudi Arabia,” Aramco’s Chief Executive Amin Nasser said in the report.
Aramco was preparing the Midyan non-associated gas field last year to produce 75 million standard cubic feet per day (scfd) of non-associated gas and 4,500 barrels of condensate per day, it said in the report.
Midyan is one of the new gas fields in northwest Saudi Arabia to produce gas for power plants and potentially supply other industries in a region rich in iron ore deposits. It was discovered in the 1980s and has significant reserves.