Spain's Repsol sees 2012 profit dip after Argentina nationalization;

MADRID – Spanish oil and gas company Repsol blamed the nationalization of YPF, its former Argentine unit, and a drop in the value of its oil inventories for a fall in 2012 profits despite big production increases around the world.

The company said Thursday its net income fell 6.1 per cent last year to €2.06 billion ($2.7 billion). The loss of YPF in April last year was a heavy blow for the Madrid-based company and masked a solid 11 per cent production increase in 2012, with significant increases recorded in Bolivia, Libya, the United States, Spain and Russia.

The company’s bottom line last year was also weakened by a lower value assigned for the oil inventories it stocks as part of Spain’s strategic reserve. The value of those inventories dropped to €5.5 billion last year from €7.3 billion in 2011.

Helping out Repsol was 56 per cent growth in the upstream unit’s operating income, to €2.21 billion.

Repsol laid the foundations for further growth with one of the world’s largest oil and gas field discoveries, in Brazil, and other finds in Peru, Colombia and Algeria. The company added 68 new blocks to its portfolio in the United States, Angola, Aruba, Australia, Bulgaria, Romania and Namibia.

Operating investments in 2012 reached €2.42 billion, up 34 per cent on the previous year. Of that, 60 per cent went on development, mainly in the US, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, and Bolivia. A further 18 per cent was spent on exploration, largely in the U.S., Peru and Brazil, the company said.

After the year’s close, Repsol agreed to sell its liquefied natural gas assets to Shell for $6.65 billion as part of its divestment strategy.

Repsol shares rose 0.9 per cent to €16.245 in early trading on the Madrid stock exchange.