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Total defies the odds

Succession of acquisitions and project ramp-ups help strengthen the company’s portfolio in a tough environment for the sector

Last year was an ordeal to test the finances of any commodity-focused energy producer—global prices stubbornly resisted all but the most short-term bullish triggers while grinding lower on fears of stuttering oil demand growth. Intensified tensions in the Middle East brought a double whammy of only the briefest price spikes while injecting volatility and investor uncertainty. But, while economic conditions were challenging, full-year financial results from Total show that not every international oil company (IOC) must necessarily suffer, if an individual firm is correctly positioned to cope with a rapidly changing industry and prolonged uncertainty. The French major recorded $28.5bn in fre



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