France's Total and Italy's Eni have both reported profit pain from low oil prices and there's no sign of an end to the agony. As Ciara Lee reports, oil prices have been heading for the biggest weekly losses in six weeks as doubts emerge that there won't be an output cut big enough to curb a global glut.
It's not been a good year for oil producers. Adjusting to lower oil prices has been painful. France's Total is no exception. Lower refining margins led to a 25% drop in third quarter net income. That was above expectations. But only thanks to cost cuts, new projects and the sale of a solar farm. It was a similar story at Italy's Eni, although it failed to make a profit. Output disruption and an impairment charge related to its stake in Saipem added to the problems. SOUNDBITE (English) CITY INDEX MARKET ANALYST, KEN ODELUGA, SAYING: "They're all doing the right things. They're restructuring, reducing costs, finding costs in all kinds of neglected places to actually prune. But I think for this particular quarter, I think investors should really lower their expectations." Oil prices have nudged up in recent weeks, although the end of this week brought a fall - partly thanks to OPEC officials. They're meeting in Vienna to try and hammer out details of an oil supply cut agreement. Iraq put a spanner in the last agreement by asking to be exempt. Iran, Libya and Nigeria aren't happy either - they want to increase output. And this weekend's meeting will only recommend - it's another month before decisions are finally made.