By TARA PATEL
Total is preparing a three-year, company-wide plan to cut
costs after second-quarter profit fell 12% amid record-low
production and a slump in refining
Profit excluding changes in inventories dropped to $3.2
billion from $3.58 billion a year earlier, the Courbevoie,
France-based company said on Tuesday. The result missed the
$3.26 billion average of 12 analyst estimates compiled by
Bloomberg. Production slid 10% to 2.054 million bpd
of oil equivalent.
The explorer kept its dividend unchanged from the first
quarter, at 61 euro cents/share.
The cost-cutting program is being finalized and we will
give the first numbers in September for 2015 through
2017, chief financial officer Patrick de la Chevardiere said
on a conference call. All divisions will be affected,
The plan comes in addition to CEO Christophe de
Margeries asset sales and a lowering of capital
spending. As the biggest refiner in western Europe
, where it operates eight
plants, Total has been hurt by lower crude- processing
margins caused by overcapacity.
margins are very
low, de la Chevardiere said. During the quarter the
company lowered output to a minimum at certain Europe
an crude-processing sites
because the more we produced the more we were losing
The shares fell as much as 3.1% to 50.59 euros and were
trading at 51.39 euros at 2:33 p.m. in Paris.
The stock is down because of the weak earnings figures,
Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst Oswald Clint said in a
note. The new cost-reduction targets will be welcome by
investors alongside spending disciple.
margins fell to
$10.90/ton of crude processed, from $24.10/ton a year
earlier, though up from $6.60/ton in the first quarter, Total
said earlier this month, citing its Europe
Oil output fell in the second quarter after the loss of
concessions in Abu Dhabi, exceptionally heavy maintenance
on exploration and
production installations and strife in Libya, Total said.
The production in the second quarter was an all-time
low, de la Chevardiere said on the call. Maintenance
in the North Sea,
Nigeria and Thailand was partly to blame.
Total is counting on new project
s to increase its oil
production to 2.6 million barrels a day in 2015 and to about
3 million barrels two years later.
One of the projects was the giant Kashagan installation in
Kazakhstan. Its shutdown due to a leak wasnt good
news for the output targets, de la Chevardiere said.
The Clov offshore project
in Angola has reached
production of 80,000 bpd and is expected to double this
before the end of the year, de la Chevardiere
said, adding that at full output, it will generate $1.5
billion in cash a year.
Total is also expecting output from Laggan-Tormore in the
North Sea and Ofon Phase 2 in Nigeria to start up by the end
of 2014, he said.
Kashagan, held 16.8% by the French company, was halted after
producing its first oil in September. It will remain idled as
180 kilometers (112 miles) of pipelines are replaced,
operator North Caspian Operating Co. said in April. This
could take until 2016, de la Chevardiere said on the
Asset sales could reach $25 billion, he said in February,
without giving a timeframe.
This quarter, asset sales amounted to $2.5 billion, de la
Chevardiere said. Bringing the total to well
within a target of $15 billion to $20 billion from 2012
to 2014. They included the sales of Totals 10% stake in
Azerbaijans Shah Deniz gas project
, its liquid petroleum gas
distribution business in France and its South African coal
unit for $472 million.
The sale of a 20% stake in Nigerias offshore Usan field
to Sinopec was canceled by the Chinese company, and Total has
restarted efforts to sell the asset, de la Chevardiere said.
The $2.5 billion deal was announced in November and was
expected to have been completed by the end of last year.
Their reasons are their own and I dont know
them, he said.