Total profit jumps on higher oil prices

French oil company Total posted a 54 per cent profit rise as higher oil and gas prices and strong refining margins lifted industry earnings worldwide.

Total said net income, excluding unrealised gains related to changes in the value of inventories, was 2.875bn euros in the third quarter, boosted by gains from selling oil fields.

Stripping out one-offs, the result was up 32 per cent and in line with analysts' average forecasts

Oil prices were around 12 per cent higher in the quarter compared to the same period last year, while the price of gas from the North Sea, where Total is a major player, rose sharply.

Total's oil and gas production increased 4.3 per cent to 2.34m barrels of oil equivalent per day over the period, powered by higher gas output, as crude production fell.

Total said it would start paying dividends on a quarterly basis, rather than half-yearly.