French energy giant Total saw a 14 per cent increase in its net income during the second quarter of the year, during which it made significant gains in its Middle East exploration activities.

Net income for the second quarter was registered at $2.5bn, with more than $3.1bn generated in cash flow after investments, excluding acquisitions and divestments.

New projects in the Middle East have boosted French energy giant Total’s exploration and production segment, where second quarter operating cash flow before working capital changes increased by almost 50 per cent. The firm attributed this to production growth of around three per cent from “start-ups ad cash-accretive projects” besides a cost-reduction programme, chairman and chief executive Patrick Pouyanne said in a statement.

“The group is also continuing to prepare for the future, with the signing of a contract related to the development of Phase 11 of the giant South Pars gas field in Iran, the start-up of operations on the giant Al-Shaheen field in Qatar and the final investment decision for Phase 3 of the Halfaya project in Iraq,” he added.

Total signed a $4.9bn deal with the National Iranian Oil Company earlier this month to develop phase 11 of the massive gas field – the largest in the world – that is shared by Iran and Qatar.

In the same week, it signed an agreement to launch the North Oil Company to explore Qatar’s offshore Al-Shaheen field.