Oil firms Total and Chevron reported improved profits for the first three months of the year as the higher price of oil helped boost revenues. Total's net profit was 2.3bn euros ($3bn; £2bn), almost 10% higher than the 2.1bn euros made in the same period a year earlier. The French firm said oil prices were 70% higher compared with the first three months of 2009. Chevron's profit rose to $4.55bn ($3bn) from $1.84bn. The US firm's revenue rose 34% to $46.7bn.
Total is currently being investigated in France on allegations of corruption. Earlier this month, a French judge filed preliminary charges against the company, accusing it of bribing Iraqi officials while Saddam Hussein was in power in order to secure oil supplies. "In the first quarter 2010, the Brent oil price increased by more than 70% compared with the first quarter of 2009 and by 3% compared to the fourth quarter 2009," said Total chief executive Christophe de Margerie. "We look confidently on the rest of 2010. With the benefit of growing production, we will remain committed to improving profitability and pursuing development."