Repsol's first quarter net profit ticks up as costs fall

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Spanish energy giant Repsol SA is seen during the opening ceremony of its first gas station in Mexico City, Mexico March 12, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish oil and gas firm Repsol said on Tuesday first quarter adjusted net profit rose 6 percent from a year earlier, as a fall in oil and gas prices and a halt to production in Libya were offset by lower costs and a stronger U.S. dollar.

The price of Brent crude averaged $63 per barrel in the first three months of the year, down 5.5 percent from the same period in 2018, which France’s Total said last week had crimped its profits.

Recurring net profit adjusted for one-off gains and inventory effects (CCS net profit) came in at 618 million euros (£534 million) for the January to March period, compared with 583 million euros at the beginning of 2018.

A forecast drawn from analyst estimates provided by the company pointed to adjusted net income of 566 million euros.

Lower exploration costs pushed up operating income by 122 million euros in the period, Repsol said.

Production fell to 700,000 barrels per day from 726,000 a year ago, primarily due to a halt in production in Libya, lower gas demand in Venezuela, an asset sale in the United States, maintenance activities and the decline of fields.

But the upstream unit was boosted by new wells in the United States, Canada and Colombia, acquisitions in Norway and the start-up of a gas field in Trinidad and Tobago.

The refining margin fell 20 percent to $5.3 from $6.6 in the first quarter of last year.

Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by Paul Day and Kirsten Donovan