Oil price drop pushes Total profit down 26 per cent

PARIS – Total says its fourth quarter earnings skidded 26 per cent as the collapse in oil prices hit another global energy giant.

The French company said Thursday that profit adjusted for changes in the value of inventories and one-time items dropped to $2.1 billion from $2.8 billion in the same period a year earlier.

Oil prices have been falling for over a year. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil, hit a 12-year low of $27.10 a barrel in January.

Total has been cutting costs and investment in response. In 2016, Total will cut capital investment by $4 billion to about $19 billion, and will cuts costs by $2.4 billion after $1.5 billion savings in 2015.

Total’s production rose 9 per cent to 2.35 million barrels of oil a day last year.