Higher oil prices boost ExxonMobil, Chevron second quarter earnings
New York, US - US petroleum giants ExxonMobil and Chevron reported big jumps in secondquarter profits on Friday, the latest boost from a recovery in oil prices that still feels shaky to many industry officials.
Exxon’s profit for the quarter ending June 30 nearly doubled to US$3.4bn, while Chevron nabbed US$1.5bn in earnings, up from a US$1.5bn loss - about 15 per cent above the level in the comparable 2016 quarter.
“These solid results across our businesses were driven by higher commodity prices and a continued focus on operations and business fundamentals,” Exxon chief executive Darren Woods said.
Other factors included better refining margins, higher natural gas prices and a restrained approach to capital spending.
Chevron chief executive John Watson said, “Second quarter results improved substantially from a year ago.”
“We’re delivering higher production with lower capital and operating expenditures.”
Despite the big jump, Exxon’s profits missed Wall Street expectations. Analysts also hit the company for a one per cent drop in oil and gas production compared with the year-ago period.
By contrast, Chevron’s earnings bested analyst expectations and reflected a ten per cent increase in oil and gas production amid solid output at its Gorgon LNG project in Australia and its shale properties in Texas.
Exxon recovered by the close to end 1.5 per cent lower, while Chevron gained 1.9 per cent.
Oil producers have been cau- tious in boosting investment, in part because of worries that oil prices could retreat again amid surging US shale production.
Oil services companies that reported earnings over the last week said US upstream investment remains solid, but international capital spending continues to lag.
Halliburton chief executive Jeffrey Allen Miller said aggressive drilling in North America boosted its US business, but the international market is likely to ‘move sideways’ in part because of uncertainty about oil prices.