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Oil major Total delivers forecast-beating profits on cost cutting and increased production

Mark Renders | Getty Images

The French oil and gas company Total has managed to offset the effects of weak commodity prices by reporting better-than-expected profits in the third quarter of 2016.

Total's adjusted net income was $2.1 billion in the third quarter of 2016, a 25 percent contraction compared to the same period a year ago but above an expected $1.96 billion seen in a Reuters poll. The company's operating cash flow before working capital changes stood at $4.5 billion.

The company has put in place a strategy to cut costs across all its units and this is set to continue. The company raised its cost-cutting target from $2.4 billion to $2.7 billion this year. This has meant cutting capital investment and exploring for oil in established fields. The company also noted that increased production at some of its new projects also helped it to deliver forecast-beating profits.

"Total continues to benefit from its integrated business model and is responding effectively to short-term challenges due to good operational performance and strong cost discipline," Patrick Pouyanne, Total's CEO said in a statement.



Major oil firms have been busy restructuring since mid-2014 when the price of oil dramatically sank from around $110 a barrel. Oil prices were trading higher in Asia on Friday morning. Brent was up by 7 cents from Thursday at $50.54 a barrel and WTI was up by 4 cents at $49.76 a barrel.