Repsol profit hit by Libya conflict

Spanish oil company Repsol's net profit fell more steeply than expected in the fourth quarter as production was suspended in Libya by the uprising that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi.

Repsol said on Wednesday it lost 220 million euros ($295 million) of production in Libya during the fourth quarter.

Quarterly net profit, adjusted for one-off gains and oil inventory costs, was 355 million euros, down 29 percent, missing the average forecast of 385 million in a Reuters poll of 10 analysts.

Adjusted earnings before interest and taxes fell 26 percent to 781 million euros, also missing a forecast for 971 million.

Strikes in Argentina also affected full-year net profit, which was 2.2 billion euros, down 53 percent, Repsol said.

The company's shares were down 1.3 percent at 20.31 euros at 0813 GMT, compared with a 0.2 percent rise in the STOXX 600 European oil and gas stocks index.

Repsol did not address in its earnings statement the rising tension between the company and the Argentine government over its Argentine unit YPF.

The government is pressing YPF to invest more in oil and gas exploration and production and has accused YPF of overcharging and banned it from making foreign trade deals over unpaid taxes.

Those issues are likely to dominate a conference call Repsol executives are holding with financial analysts at 1 p.m. (1200 GMT) on Wednesday.

Repsol said its rate of replacing reserves rose to an all-time high of 131 percent in 2011 due to new discoveries in Brazil and in "unconventional reserves" found in shale deposits in Argentina. ($1 = 0.7450 euros)

(Source: Reuters)

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