Total leads majors

PAPUA LNG operator Total has again proven how far it is beyond its peers, posting $US10.5 billion ($A14.74 billion) net income last year.

The result was a drop of 18% from 2014 but still the best performance among its peers as its chemicals and refining earnings doubled last year.

The company's integrated model was the real saviour once more. While 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. The company signed $4 billion worth of assets sales on the way to the target of $10 billion through 2017.

Total 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 a hair more than $1 billion for the December quarter, up 5% from a year prior in a "globally favourable" environment, and earned $4.9 billion for full-year 2015. That was 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. That project was recently delayed by 18 months and its costs have also blown out up to 10% to $37.4 billion.

Total also paved the way for a positive future with a reserve replacement rate of 107%, and sold 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 Q4 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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