Most of us know lots about ExxonMobil
Like its other Big Oil integrated peers, Total managed to increase its net profit in the June quarter -- in its case, by an impressive 39% in U.S. dollars. But unlike the others, for whom production generally was flat or down, Total managed an increase in its output in the quarter, in part because of new fields coming on stream in the Congo and the North Sea.
As a result, a 1.3% year-over-year improvement in production, along with the jump in crude prices that has benefited all the producers -- the average Brent price was $121.20 a barrel, up 76% from a year ago -- made for a very nice quarter at the Paris-based company. And the growth in output would have been even greater were it not for a temporary shutdown of the Al Jurf field in Libya following a "drilling incident.”
Total's results for the quarter were largely mirrored by those of Norway's StatoilHydro
But back to Total: I have generally been lukewarm on the members of Big Oil in the short run. Most are watching their production averages slowly retreat, and should crude prices pull back briefly -- which I view as probable -- the companies' share prices will likely reflect that pullback. However, I also must come clean with my Foolish friends and note that quarter after quarter, I walk away impressed by Total's operating and financial successes.
So while I continue to think that, in the short term at least, energy-investing Fools are better off in oilfield service names like Schlumberger
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