Total sees revenue rise 10 percent in first half

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PARIS (AP) — French oil giant Total saw its revenue grow 10 percent in the first half of the year but falling oil prices and a series of interruptions to gas production helped push profit down 22 percent.

Despite the weak economy, Total said Friday that its revenue grew to €100.3 billion ($123 billion) for the January to June period compared with the same time last year.

But two gas leaks — one in the North Sea, another in Nigeria — and attacks on a gas pipeline in Yemen cut into the company's bottom line. CFO Patrick de la Chevardiere said the three incidents were under control, but production has not fully come back online. He said the three together had cost the company a combined $200 million.

In addition, the company said it has set aside €316 million in the second quarter in light of an American investigation into gas contracts awarded to Iran in the 1990s.

These setbacks, in addition to a fall in Brent crude prices, contributed to the drop in first-half net profit to €5.2 billion.

"The second quarter was certainly a challenging one for Total, but these events are thankfully largely behind us," de la Chevardiere said in a call with analysts.

The company also announced that it would distribute a second-quarter dividend to shareholders of €0.59 per share, a 3.5 percent increase over last quarter.

That sent shares rising on the Paris bourse, where they were up 3.3 percent in afternoon trading.

The group warned that refining margins could be hurt in the second half by scheduled work on a refinery in France.

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