French oil giant Total posts 4th quarter loss after slashing value of Canadian, US assets

Total SA reported a net loss of $5.66 billion in the fourth quarter as world oil prices collapsed and the French energy giant wrote down the value of assets in Canada and the United States.

Total said Thursday its oil and gas production slid 2 percent to 2.23 million barrels a day in the fourth quarter. Earnings were weighed down by $6.5 billion in charges during the quarter, mainly against the value of oil sands in Canada and unconventional gas fields in the United States, Total said.

After falling nearly 60 percent from a peak last June, the price of oil bounced back more than 20 percent as January turned to February. Wednesday the price of oil fell $1.18 to $48.84 a barrel in New York.