Total takes hit on Europe, but keeps chin up

French major sees Africa as bright spot in otherwise bleak first quarter.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   April 30, 2014 at 10:01 AM
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PARIS, April 30 (UPI) -- French energy company Total said Wednesday its finances were hurt by the refining sector in Europe, but was optimistic about the potential in Africa.

Total Chief Executive Officer Christophe de Margerie said adjusted net income of $3.3 billion for the first quarter was lower year-on-year because of "sharply lower" prospects in the European refining sector.

Total's reported net income for the first quarter was 10 percent less than first quarter 2013. Though income was lower, the CEO said operations in Africa, particular its Kaombo project in Angola, were bright spots for the year thus far.

"Kaombo illustrates perfectly our commitments and ambitions by combining innovative engineering solutions and discipline cost management to create a competitive cost," he said.

The company last week said it was investing $16 billion to develop Kaombo, a field that should produce 230,000 bpd for once operations begin in 2017.

Elsewhere, de Margerie said the company was optimistic about promising wells offshore Ivory Coast and similar basins across the Atlantic Ocean in Brazil.

Total said first quarter production of 2.1 million barrels of oil equivalent per day was 6 percent lower year-on-year. It attributed the decline to "portfolio changes" and security issues in Libya and Nigeria.

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