As with the other major oil companies that had reported, the results for this solid company were hit by the decline in energy commodity prices, along with skinny refinery margins. For the quarter, with an average Brent crude price of $59.10 per barrel -- a 51% decline year over year -- the company achieved adjusted net income of $2.3 billion, down 60% from a year ago.
And to add insult to injury, hydrocarbon production declined more than 7% year over year. Nigeria, which has been fraught with internecine squabbling, was responsible for a 1.5% decrease in quarterly production by itself. However, OPEC curtailments and softer demand for gas around the globe were the biggest culprits, subtracting 4% in total.
The downstream segment fared at least as badly as did exploration and production. Refinery throughput declined by 5% from a year ago and 3% from the previous quarter. The declines were primarily because of (maintenance) turnarounds at several of the company's refineries. At the same time, the European refining margin slid a whopping 69% year over year.
While it was a less than spectacular quarter for Total, both the French company and Italy's Eni
So Total ended up with the same sort of quarter as its European brethren, along with U.S. competitors ExxonMobil
As is the case with most stocks these days, the response depends in large part on your time frame. For my money, the company is well-managed, has an attractive 4.7% dividend yield, and trades at a lower P/E multiple than many of its Big Oil counterparts. So unless you're investing only for the near term, slowly acquiring Total shares could make awfully good sense.
For related Foolishness:
- Chevron Follows Exxon to the Battlefield
- A New Boom-or-Bust Nigerian Gas Project
- ExxonMobil Goes Back to Alaska
Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned. He does welcome your questions or comments. Total is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Fool has an unassailable disclosure policy.