Record Production Lifts Total's Profits


French energy major Total said its net adjusted profit rose 10 percent in the final quarter of 2018, lifting its full year earnings by more than a quarter after record oil and gas production.

Total said on Thursday that output reached an all-time high of 2.8 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2018 thanks to the start-ups of various operations and increased production in Australia, Angola, Nigeria and Russia.

It reported a 28 percent rise in full-year profit to $13.6 billion, following on the heels of strong results from other oil majors.

"These excellent results reflect the strong growth of more than 8 percent of the group's hydrocarbons production," Total's Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne said in a statement.

On Tuesday, BP reported a doubling of profits, driven by strong growth in oil and gas output following a large U.S. shale acquisition.

Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil and Chevron also reported stronger-than-forecast earnings, driven by higher production in U.S. shale basins where Oil Majors have invested billions in recent years.

Total said its results would enable it to continue its shareholders' return policy announced last year. After increasing dividends by 3.2 percent in 2018, it plans a 3.1 percent rise in 2019.

It will also buy back $1.5 billion of its shares in 2019 after buying back the same amount last year.

Total added it would eliminate its scrip dividend scheme from June 2019.

(Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Susan Fenton)

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