Total approves first major project since 2014 as Q1 profits surge

French oil and gas major Total reported a better-than-expected net profit in the first quarter of the year boosted by a recovery in oil prices, allowing it to approve its first major project since 2014.

Total said adjusted net profit surged 56 percent to $2.6 billion compared with the same quarter in 2016, as Brent crude oil prices rose by an average of 58 percent during the period.

"The strength of the balance sheet and relentless pursuit of cost reductions allows the group to launch new projects and acquire resources while fully benefiting from the ongoing deflation in the oil sector," said Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne in a statement.