Total reports steep drop in third quarter earnings as plunging oil price hammers profits

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PARIS — Total SA reported a steep drop in third quarter profit as plummeting oil prices offset a hike in the French energy giant's production.

Total says its third quarter net profit fell to $1.1 billion from $3.46 billion a year earlier as oil prices slumped by around 50 percent. Sales fell 33 percent to $40.6 billion.

Total raised production 10 percent to 2.3 million barrels a day in the quarter. New project start-ups and ramp-ups helped boost production, notably a deep offshore development in Angola and another in the North Sea, Total said Thursday.

Excluding one-time items and fluctuations in the value of inventories, the company said profit dropped 23 percent to $2.8 billion from 3.1 billion a year earlier, reflecting the plunge in oil prices.

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