Image Credit: Reuters

LA DIFENSE: French energy firm Total said on Thursday its net profit held nearly steady last year as a boost in production helped compensate for lower oil prices.

Net profit dipped just 2.0 per cent to $11.27 billion (Dh41.45 billion) despite the benchmark international crude oil price sliding 10 per cent last year and European gas prices tumbling by 38 per cent, it said in a statement.

A 9.0 per cent jump in output, thanks in large part to the Yamal liquefied natural gas project in Russia coming on line, helped boost the bottom line.

However its adjusted net income — which strips out exceptional items and is the reference figure for investors and analysts — fell 13 per cent to $11.8 billion.

The firm said it intends to keep increasing its dividend by 5.0-6.0 per cent, having increased it by 5.0 per cent in 2019.

Total acknowledged “the environment remains volatile, given the uncertainty about hydrocarbon demand related to the outlook for global economic growth and a context of geopolitical instability”.

Total’s statement did not make an explicit reference to the coronavirus outbreak in China, which analysts and rival energy firms have warned could dent oil demand and depress prices.