French oil giant Total sees Q1 profit fall 20 percent amid global oil price slump

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PARIS — French energy giant Total SA said Tuesday that its net profit slid 20 percent in the first quarter despite a rise in production as slumping oil prices took their toll.

The company said net profit for the quarter was $2.66 billion, down from $3.34 billion a year earlier. That fall came despite a 10 percent rise in hydrocarbon production to 2.4 million barrels a day.

CEO Patrick Pouyanne said Total is "demonstrating its resilience and profiting from its integrated model" in the face of a 50 percent drop in the average Brent crude oil price over the last year.

Total said its Termokarstovoye gas field in Russia's far north will start up during the second quarter. Four other fields are scheduled to start production in the second half.

Total said it is making efforts to cut costs and lower its breakeven levels in response to the lower oil prices. Oil executives admit that the price of a barrel will not return to previous years' average around $90 anytime soon.

Analysts at research firm IHS predict oil to average $60 a barrel this year.

Firms are also slashing exploration budgets, with Total aiming to cut its capital spending by 10 percent this year from $26 billion in 2014.

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