Analysts Cautious on Total after 2Q Results

Analysts on Monday responded to Total's second quarter results with caution, after the French major reported Friday that 2Q earnings were smaller by nine percent at $3.7 billion.

Total itself noted that in its upstream segment the company was adversely affected by incidents in the UK North Sea, Nigeria and Yemen. But the firm also pointed out that the second quarter was also market by successes, with the firm starting up production at its Islay, Bongkot South and Halfaya projects while also acquiring new exploration licenses in Uruguay, Kenya and Bulgaria.
The firm added that the increase in its share in the Ichthys project in Australia has strengthened its "already prominent" role in fast-growing Asian markets and solidified its position among worldwide leaders in liquefied natural gas.
Goldman Sachs commented that "concerns remain" despite "solid" net earnings of $7.7 billion during the first half of the year. The investment bank noted that growth in Total's major new projects will only accelerate from 2015/2016 and "until then, the company is heavily exposed to potential delays and cost overruns".
Oil analysts at Jefferies were more positive, pointing out that earnings beat consensus forecasts by three percent, "bucking the trend of its larger peers" and that although upstream production was lower than last year "we believe this should grow substantially once the new projects ramp up and Elgin and Yemen return by early next year".
In a statement accompanying Total's second quarter results, CEO Christophe de Margerie said:
"Amid a challenging economic environment, it is with confidence that Total faces the second half of 2012, supported by the strength of its balance sheet and the dedication of its team which allow the group to develop and execute high-value projects in each segment"
So far, the second quarter reporting season has thrown up a mixed bag of results from European oil and gas companies, with Statoil reporting an increase in profit last week while Spain's Repsol and Royal Dutch Shell both seeing a decline in their respective net incomes.
Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this article.


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