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Exxon Quarterly Profit Falls 5.2% on Weak Refining, Chemical Margins

Net income attributable to Exxon fell to $5.69 billion, or $1.33 per share, in the three months ended Dec. 31, 2019.

Image source: Exxon Mobil 2019 Investor Information Presentation

By Jennifer Hiller

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Exxon Mobil Corp. reported a 5.2% drop in fourth-quarter profit on Friday, as assets sales propped up flat year-over-year oil and gas output and weakness in its refining and chemicals businesses.

Oil companies last quarter suffered from weaker prices for their products, and in Exxon’s case it has been spending heavily to boost its oil output to reverse production declines.

Its production in the Permian Basin, the largest U.S. shale field, was up 54% from a year ago. But its exploration and production business, its largest, benefited the most from the sale of production assets in Norway for $4.5 billion to Vår Energi AS.

Net income attributable to Exxon fell to $5.69 billion, or $1.33 per share, in the three months ended Dec. 31, from $6 billion, or $1.41 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, per share earnings were 41 cents, below Wall Street’s consensus expectation of 43 cents, according to Refinitiv. Analysts earlier this month slashed estimates from 71 cents after the company warned of weakness in chemicals and refining.

The largest U.S. oil producer’s oil and gas output rose less than 1% to 4.02 million barrels per day in the quarter, the sixth quarter in a row of year-over year gains.

Earlier this week, the company raised its Guyana oil estimates by 2 billion barrels, bringing total recoverable oil and gas resources from the discovery to more than 8 billion barrels.

Reporting by Jennifer Hiller in Houston and Shariq Khan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Chizu Nomiyama

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Source: Reuters