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French Oil Giant Surrenders to Falling Prices

Total, the largest French oil company, posts a 36% decline in the first quarter, hurt by the steep decline in oil prices.

How do you say, "another oil giant is hit by the steep decline in oil prices" in French? We have no idea. We do know this:

Total

(TOT) - Get Total SA Report

, the largest French oil company, today posted a 36% decline in the first quarter.

The news comes after

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Exxon Mobil Corporation Report

reported a 58% nosedive in first quarter earnings last week, its lowest level in over five years.

ConocoPhillips

(COP) - Get ConocoPhillips Report

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was also down 80%, while Europe's

BP

and

Royal Dutch Shell

both declined 62%.

Total said it earned 2.29 billion euro from 3.6 billion euro in the year-ago period. Its sales fell 32% to 30 billion euro.

Replacement cost profit, a key measure of oil companies, depreciated 43% to $2.8 billion from $4.9 billion.

Brent crude averaged $96.48 a barrel in the first quarter of 2008 and reached almost $150 a barrel in July. Since then, however, prices have dropped steeply and at one point were $50.

On Wednesday oil prices traded above $54 a barrel.

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