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fourth quarter

Markets

Santos sees writedowns as sales slump 24% amid oil collapse

Santos Ltd. reported a 24 percent drop in fourth-quarter sales and flagged asset writedowns after a further decline in oil prices since its November announcement of $2.5 billion program to cut debt. Quarterly sales fell to A$828 million from A$1.09 billion a year earlier, the Adelaide-based company said Friday. That beat estimates from UBS Group AG and Macquarie Group Ltd. Output dropped 1 percent to 14.9 million barrels of oil equivalent, and spending decreased 43 percent to A$477 million.

Markets

Statoil deepens spending cuts as oil price rout saps profits

Statoil ASA deepened cost cuts and halted dividend growth as Norway’s biggest energy company struggles to withstand a plunge in oil prices. The company will raise spending cuts by 30% to $1.7 billion from 2016 and lower capital expenditure to $18 billion this year from earlier targeting $20 billion, the Stavanger-based company said. Statoil reported fourth-quarter net operating income of $1.2 billion, down from 43.9 billion kroner a year earlier. That missed an estimate of 26.3 billion kroner in a survey of analysts.

Markets

Crude at $49: The new reality for big oil companies

Financial results from a fourth quarter that saw the collapse of the crude market will provide a window into how the world’s biggest oil companies are adjusting to a new reality of slowing growth and low prices. Oil that topped $115 a barrel as recently as June has been trading below $50 a barrel since the first week of the year, portending a bleak 2015 for the world’s five so-called supermajors -- Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Chevron Corp., Total SA and BP Plc. The companies, whose businesses combine oil and natural gas exploration with refining and chemical manufacturing, have historically been among the most resilient players during down cycles. This could be the oil bust that breaks that pattern.