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BBC News: Total reaps benefit of oil price

Record crude oil prices have helped French oil giant Total report a record 12.58bn euros ($16.4bn; £8.4bn) net profit in 2006.

The earnings, up 5% on the previous year, were buoyed by crude reaching more than $78 a barrel in mid-July.

However, oil prices have now fallen off to around $60 a barrel.

These lower prices, along with higher costs and spending on exploration, meant Total’s profits in the last three months of 2006 were down 10%.

Its fourth quarter results compare with an 11% rise in profits at Royal Dutch Shell, a 12% slump at BP and a 4.3% dip at Exxon Mobil.

Total reported overall sales in the year of 153.8bn euros, 12% higher than in 2005.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6360147.stm

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