MOSCOW (MRC) -- Total has reported a strong first-quarter recovery in its upstream oil and gas business, with higher prices leading to almost triple the level of adjusted operating profit in the segment compared to a year ago, but also noted continued market volatility and "very poor" refining margins, reported S&P Global.
Total also reported record-high adjusted operating profit from its 'integrated gas renewables & power' division, which includes its LNG business. The company's LNG sales were stable compared with a year ago at 9.9 million mt, but the company said it had more than doubled its installed renewable power generation capacity in the last year from 3 GW to 7.8 GW, and the division as a whole generated 8% more in adjusted operating profit.
The French major forecast its oil and gas production would remain stable in 2021 compared with 2020 levels, even though first-quarter hydrocarbon production was down 7% on the year at 2.86 million b/d of oil equivalent, within which liquids output fell 11% to 1.51 million b/d.
The fall in upstream output was due to reductions under the OPEC+ agreement, which crimped volumes from Kazakhstan, Nigeria and the UAE, as well as unplanned Norwegian maintenance, Total said. But the company also benefited from a recovery in Libya and growth from new projects, notably Culzean and Johan Sverdrup in the North Sea, North Russkoye in northern Russia, and Brazil's Iara sub-salt field.
CEO Patrick Pouyanne highlighted that adjusted profit for the quarter was higher than the same quarter two years earlier, in 2019, reinforcing hopes for recovery. However, "the oil environment remains volatile and dependent on the global demand recovery, still affected by the COVID-19 pandemic," the company added.
Underlining the precarious state of European refining, Total said European refining margins were 80% lower than a year earlier, at USD5.3/mt, reflecting a 2 million b/d drop in European demand for refined products, to 13 million b/d. Total reduced its refinery throughput by 38% globally and 81% in France, to 1.15 million b/d and 114,000 b/d respectively, as it works to reduce capacity or convert facilities to renewable fuel production. Poor refining results were, however, offset by strong petrochemical performance and "resilient" marketing and services, Total said.
Overall, Total reported a 69% year-on-year increase in adjusted net profit, to USD3 billion for the quarter.
As MRC reported earlier, within the framework of its net zero strategy, Total will convert its Grandpuits refinery (Seine-et-Marne) into a zero-crude platform and will invest more then EUR500 mln into this project. By 2024 the platform will focus on four new industrial activities: production of renewable diesel primarily intended for the aviation industry, production of bioplastics, plastics recycling and operation of two photovoltaic solar power plants.
We remind that in November 2019, Total disclosed that itis evaluating construction of a new gas cracker at its Deasan, South Korea, joint venture (JV) with Hanwha Chemical.
Ethylene and propylene are the main feedstocks for the production of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), respectively.
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia"s estimated PE consumption totalled 576,270 tonnes in the first three month of 2021, up by 4% year on year. Low density polyethylene (LDPE) and high density polyethylene (HDPE) shipments increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market totalled 410,890 tonnes in January-March 2021, up by 56% year on year. Supply of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased.
Total S.A. is a French multinational oil and gas company and one of the six "Supermajor" oil companies in the world with business in Europe, the United States, the Middle East and Asia. The company's petrochemical products cover two main groups: base chemicals and the consumer polymers (polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene) that are derived from them.