WRAPUP 2-Oil industry slipping into the red as outlook dims

Thu Oct 29, 2015 12:46pm EDT
 
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* Seven of 10 majors to have reported Q3 results registered losses

* Shell posts $7.4 bln loss after heavy write-offs

* Italian major Eni reports $1 bln loss

* Sector challenged by lower-for-longer oil price outlook (New throughout, adds Conoco, Marathon Oil results, comments)

By Ron Bousso, Karolin Schaps and Anna Driver

LONDON/HOUSTON, Oct 29 (Reuters) - The oil sector is slipping into the red after years of fat profits as the steep slump in oil prices shows little sign of ending, with this quarter shaping up to be the worst since the downturn started.

The world's top oil companies have struggled to cope with the halving of oil prices since June 2014. They have cut spending repeatedly, made thousands of job cuts and scrapped projects.

The lower-for-longer outlook for oil prices took its heaviest toll yet in the third quarter as oil companies again reported a dramatic drop in income. Some saw results swing into the loss column, and the industry had billions of dollars in impairment charges.

"This downcycle poses significant challenges," Jeff Sheets, ConocoPhillips' chief financial officer, told investors on a conference call after the company posted a loss.   Continued...