Total back to pre-pandemic profit levels as oil pricespendent on the global demand recovery.” rise
French energy group Total SE posted first-quarter earnings on Thursday close to levels from before the coronavirus pandemic, as higher oil and gas prices boosted its trading business and it increased electricity production.
Total cautioned the oil environment remained “volatile and dependent on the global demand recovery.” It said it expected hydrocarbon production to remain stable this year compared to 2020 levels. Like some peers, Total is also benefiting from a booming natural gas business.
The group, which is set to rebrand itself as TotalEnergies, said it was eyeing $12-$13 billion in investments this year, with half of that going to maintaining activities and the rest for growth, including to further its push into renewable energy. Total reported an adjusted net income of $3 billion for January-March, up 69% year-on-year, and 9% above first-quarter 2019 levels. This was despite a drop in hydrocarbon production of 7% from a year earlier, to 2.863 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd).
Oil prices plummeted with the start of coronavirus lockdowns early in 2020 that brought travel to a standstill and crushed fuel demand, pushing companies like Total to cut investments and find cost savings. Recovering prices are now boosting earnings at Total and peers like Britain’s BP, as accelerating COVID-19 vaccination programmes also raise prospects for sustained demand, although lockdowns remain in place in some of Europe.
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