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Total's position boosted by position in LNG

The French company earlier this month paid $1.5 billion to acquire an LNG segment of French counterpart Engie, giving Total more than a dozen tankers for the super-cooled gas.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Total's position boosted by position in LNG
French supermajor Total credits growth in the second quarter to the liquefied natural gas segment of its portfolio. Photo courtesy of the office of the Russian president

July 26 (UPI) -- French supermajor Total said Thursday its net production was up nearly 10 percent from last year, driven in part by gains in liquefied natural gas.

Total was among the first of the supermajors to release results from the second quarter. Compared with the same period last year, the company's $3.6 billion in adjusted net income was up 44 percent.

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Chairman and CEO Patrick Pouyanné said a realized average price for oil at $74 per barrel during the second quarter supported growth.

"In line with objectives for the year, the group generated $6.8 billion in cash flow in the second quarter, an increase of 20 percent compared to the first quarter, while oil prices increased by only 11 percent," he said in a statement.

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The price for Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, was within range of Total's outlined price for the second quarter in early Thursday trading. Net income was within expectations.

For production, the company reported output averaged 2.7 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, driven in part by operations in Canada and support from the Yamal liquefied natural gas project in northern Russia.

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During the quarter, the company took a 10 percent stake in a separate Arctic LNG in project.

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"Total become the second-largest player in the fast growing global LNG industry by finalizing the acquisition of Engie LNG," Pouyanné added.

The French supermajor in early July paid $1.5 billion to acquire the exploration and production segment of Engie's LNG portfolio. Of note in the purchase was Engie's minority stake in the Cameron LNG facility in the United States, an emerging LNG exporter thanks to its rich shale natural gas reserves.

The Engie acquisition included a fleet of 18 LNG tankers and access to European regasification infrastructure, which made the deal a game changer for Total.

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The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission found LNG plants in operation or under construction represent about 13 percent of total gas production in the United States.

Pouyanné joined Russian Cabinet officials last year for a ceremony naming a tanker designated for Arctic LNG after former Total CEO Christophe de Margerie, who died in a plane crash in Moscow in 2014.

The Christophe de Margerie vessel is designated for around-the-clock transportation of LNG from port facilities in the far-north Kara Sea tied to Russia's gas facility at the Yamal Peninsula.

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