Rising oil prices fuel profit rise for France's Total

France's Total, Rising oil prices fuel profit rise for France's Total

French oil and gas giant Total said Thursday that recovering oil prices and increased production gave profits a welcome boost last year.

Total said in a statement that its net profit jumped 39 percent to $8.6 billion in 2017.

When adjusted for one-off and volatile items, the bottom-line profit figure advanced by 28 percent to $10.6 billion, the statement said.

"These strong results were driven by production growth, notably the start-up of Moho-Nord in the Republic of Congo, the ramp-up of Kasgahan in Kazahkstan and the entry into Al-Shaheen in Qatar," Total said.

Overall production grew by 4.6 percent to 2.6 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, it said.

Chief executive Patrick Pouyanne said that oil prices "rose to an average $54 per barrel in 2017 from $44 per barrel in 2016, while remaining volatile.

"The group demonstrated its ability to capture the benefit of higher prices by reporting adjusted net income of $10.6 billion... and a return on equity above 10 percent, the highest among the majors," he said.

At the same time, Total said that it planned to buy back up to $5 billion of its own shares between 2018 and 2020 in order to allow shareholders to benefit from the rise in the group's share price.