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France's Total sees profit boost in Q4

PARIS (AP) -- French oil company Total SA says profits edged up in the fourth quarter of 2012 to €2.38 billion ($3.2 billion) thanks to high oil prices and improved refining margins.

The company's profits fell over the full year, however, down 13 percent to €10.69 billion from €12.3 billion in 2011. Total was hit in 2012 by the costs of plugging a gas leak in the Elgin field in the North Sea and losses in its shale gas venture with Barnett Shale in the United States.

Total said in a statement Wednesday that refining margins benefited from a midyear rebound. Fourth quarter profits were up 4 percent from €2.29 billion in 2011.

CEO Christophe de Margerie said the company is pushing ahead with investments and asset sales and restructuring downstream activities.