UPDATE 1-Total profit falls on lower oil prices, output

Fri Apr 26, 2013 4:07am EDT

* Q1 adjusted net profit falls 7 percent year-on-year

* Net profit falls 58 percent, hit by one-off Canadian loss

* Sees refining outages in Q2, outlook improving in sector

PARIS, April 26 (Reuters) - French oil firm Total posted a fall in first-quarter profit due to lower oil prices and a drop in oil and gas output, partly offset by a rise in its refining and chemicals business.

Brent crude oil prices have been on a downward trend since February and fell 5 percent over the first quarter versus the year before. They last traded near $102 a barrel.

Total's oil and gas output was down 2 percent in the first quarter versus the year before at 2.323 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, mainly because of the shutdown of the Elgin gas field at the end of March last year after a huge gas leak.

Elgin restarted production at the beginning of March this year and has so far reached half of its pre-accident output.

Total is counting on the start-up of its Angolan liquefied natural gas (LNG) project and Kashagan in Kazakhstan to meet its production growth target of 2 to 3 percent in 2013.

"Total continues to progress with confidence toward achieving its goals," Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie said in a statement.

Shares in Total were down 1.2 percent by 0725 GMT, underperforming a 0.7 decline in France's CAC 40 index of blue chips and a similar fall in the broader European oil and gas sector.

Total's European refining margin was up 29 percent compared with a year ago, and it said that while it expected outages in some European refineries to hit output in the second quarter, the broader outlook for the sector was improving.

Europe's third-largest oil company after Royal Dutch Shell and BP said net adjusted profit fell 7 percent year-on-year to 2.9 billion euros in the quarter to end-March, broadly in line with analysts' forecasts. First-quarter revenue was down 6 percent to 48.1 billion euros.

The Paris-based group's results were also hit by a one-off $1.65 billion loss booked last month after it pulled out of the long-delayed oil sands Voyageur Upgrader project in Canada.

As a result, its unadjusted net profit fell 58 percent to 1.5 billion euros. Total proposed to pay a dividend of 0.59 euros per share for the quarter, up 3.5 percent on a year ago.

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