Record oil prices have helped French oil giant Total boost its second-quarter profits in line with expectations.
The world's fourth-largest oil company by market value also said it had abandoned its offer for a stake in Russia's Novatek.
Total made an offer in September for a quarter of the Russian gas producer's capital.
"As a result of the numerous delays which are difficult to understand. Total has just informed the Russian antitrust authorities of its decision to withdraw its application concerning the acquisition of 25 per cent plus one share of Novatek," Total said.
Novatek is Russia's only independent gas producer that has a very strong outlook for production growth.
Total made a net profit adjusted for special items of around £2.02 billion in the quarter versus £1.52 billion a year ago. This compared with an average forecast of £2.03 billion in a poll of 12 analysts. The results cap a month of strong quarterly earnings by large oil companies still riding the wave of record crude oil prices. The profit growth coincided with a fall of almost four per cent in oil and gas production, Total said.
This was due to higher prices on the volumes to which the firm is entitled under production-sharing contracts, and effects of shutdowns related to Hurricane Ivan in the Gulf of Mexico.
Operating income from its key business segments was £ 3 . 84 billion versus £2.8 billion a year earlier.
The group's quarterly net earnings saw a percentage rise that compared favourably with rival Exxon Mobil and fell just short of BP's performance.
"Continued demand growth and a high rate of capacity utilisation for production and refining drove crude prices and refining margins to very high levels in the second quarter of 2005," said Total's chief executive, Thierry Desmarest.
Hydrocarbon production fell a wider-than-expected 3.7 per cent in the quarter to 2.506 million barrels of oil equivalent per day.
"The results were in line with expectations. As expected too, production was down in the quarter," said Thierry Lefrancois, analyst at Natexis Bleichroeder.
The company said it had achieved new exploration successes, particularly in Africa, and was making "excellent progress" in its 2010 growth strategy, particularly with the launching of its Akpo development in Nigeria in May.
Furthermore, a deal signed earlier this week with Canada's Deer Creek Energy should give the group a lift in developing its long-term Canadian oil sands strategy, it added.
In its chemicals segment, Total reported a 157 per cent quarterly leap in operating income to over £264 million, helped by better market conditions for base chemicals, and by a good performance in specialty chemicals.
Total, which is planning to spin off its Arkema specialty chemicals arm by next year, said it had posted much stronger results compared with the year-ago quarter, especially in industrial chemicals.
" Preparations for the Arkema spin-off, expected to launch in the spring of 2006, are progressing as planned," Total said.
It added its investment programme was in line with its budget for 2005, and it had bought back shares equivalent to two per cent of its capital under its share buyback programme.