Flames burn from gas venting pipes on the Casablanca oil platform, operated by Repsol SA, in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Tarragona, Spain, on Tuesday, June 28, 2016. The exploration and production division, which pumped 714,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the quarter, posted a 17 million-euro profit, up from a 190 million-euro loss a year earlier. Photographer: Angel Navarrete/Bloomberg
Flames burn from gas venting pipes on oil platform operated by Repsol © Bloomberg

Lower refining margins offset trading gains at Repsol in the fourth quarter, with the Spanish oil major reporting flat profits over the period.

Recurring net profit adjusted for one-off gains and inventory effects was up narrowly from €698 to €703m in the October-December period.

Europe's fifth-largest refiner by market value said that the refining margin had dropped to $6.9 per barrel versus $7.2 per barrel a year ago.

Over the full year, adjusted net income increased by 25 per cent to €2.4bn. Including one-off expenditures, net income was up 22 per cent to €2.1bn, the highest in six years.

The company has for years focused on cost and debt reduction, but there is speculation now that it will start to focus on investment again.

Repsol agreed last week to sell its 20 percent stake in Gas Natural to CVC Capital Partners for €3.8bn, giving it a cash windfall.

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