Total leads majors

INPEX'S Ichthys LNG partner Total has again proven how far it is beyond its peers, posting $US10.5 billion ($A14.74 billion) net income last year – a drop of 18% from 2014, but still the best performance among its peers thanks to its chemicals and refining earnings doubling in 2015.
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Total beat its cost cutting objective of $1.2 billion to reduce costs by $1.5 billion, organic capital expenditure was trimmed nearly 15% to $23 billion and it inked $4 billion worth of assets sales on the way to the target $10 billion through 2017, but the company's integrated model was the real saviour, once again.

The company booked a $5.4 bilion impairment for 2015, partially from the Gladstone LNG project in Queensland.

CEO Patrick Pouyanne said the $10.5 billion worth of earnings, despite a 50% drop in oil prices for 2015, proved the company's resilience and demonstrated the effectiveness of its integrated model.

Its refining and chemicals business' net operating income was $1.007 billion for the December quarter, up 5% from a year prior in a "globally favourable" environment, and earned $4.889 billion for full-year 2015, double its 2014 level due to a strong industrial performance during a period of high margins and cost reduction programs.

While upstream production rose by a record 9% thanks in part to the Santos-operated Gladstone LNG project shipping its first cargo in October - one of nine projects that went online last year for Total.

Total holds a 27.5% stake in GLNG along with Santos (30%), Petronas (27.5%) and KOGAS (15%).

The French company also has a 30% interest in Ichthys, currently under construction in the Northern Territory, but it was recently delayed by 18 months, while its costs have also blown out by up to 10% to $37.4 billion.

Total also paved the way for a positive future with a reserve replacement rate of 107%, and the sale of assets in the North Sea, Nigeria, Azerbaijan and 20% in the Kharyaga field in Russia.

Its marketing and services segment showed strong growth, with retail networks growing by 6% and lubricants by 3%.

Total also increased its exposure to LNG, signing long-term sale and purchase agreements with Pertamina in Indonesia and with ENN in China.

In the upstream, its net operating income from the segment dropped 53% to $748 million in the December quarter from December 2014, though this was partially offset by rising production and lower operating costs.

Its full year production income was $4.774 billion, down 55% from 2014, again partially offset by production increases, operating cost cutting and a lower effective tax rate.

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