May 28, 2024

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Exxon Mobil and Chevron announce a decrease in their profits

Exxon Mobil and Chevron announce a decrease in their profits

ExxonMobil and Chevron, the largest U.S. energy companies, said on Friday that their first-quarter profits fell from a year earlier, hurt by lower oil refining margins and lower natural gas prices.

But the oil and gas business remains highly profitable for the two giants even at a time of moderate oil prices.

The price of Brent crude, the international standard, has risen in recent weeks and is currently just under $90 per barrel. If this upward trend continues, the company's profits could rise. Brent crude is still selling at a price well below its peak in 2022, when it jumped above $100 a barrel after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Exxon Mobil said its profits amounted to $8.2 billion in the quarter, compared to $11.4 billion the previous year. Chevron reported a decline to $5.5 billion from $6.6 billion.

The two companies attributed their decline to the decline in profitability from refining crude oil into products such as gasoline and diesel. Their profits have also been hurt by falling prices for natural gas, the main fuel used in heating and industry. Natural gas prices, which rose after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, fell sharply as markets adjusted.

Chevron's adjusted earnings of $2.93 per share were slightly above expectations, while ExxonMobil's earnings of $2.06 per share were lower than that, said Biraj Purkataria, an analyst at investment bank RBC Capital Markets.

The two companies are competing for Guyana's oil riches. ExxonMobil has led the Latin American country's development into the most important new oil producer in recent years. But Chevron is trying to move into Guyana through a proposed $53 billion takeover of Hess, a mid-sized company based in New York with a large stake in Guyana's oil fields.

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ExxonMobil is rejecting the entry of a competitor into such a lucrative turf and is exploring the possibility of using a legal right to acquire Hess's stake in key oil fields off the country's coast. I have filed for arbitration regarding this situation.

“We have created tremendous value” in Guyana, Darren W. Woods, ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “We believe it is necessary to defend these rights and fully preserve the value we have created.”

Analysts say uncertainty about whether a merger might be in jeopardy has weighed on Chevron's stock price. Mr. Burkataria described the situation in Guyana as “the elephant in the room” for Chevron.

“The merger with Hess is progressing,” Mike Wirth, Chevron's chairman and CEO, told analysts on Friday. He added that Chevron is “confident” that the arbitration proceedings will find that ExxonMobil has no right to acquire Hess' stake in Guyana as a result of the merger.

In its quarterly earnings report, ExxonMobil highlighted its contributions to Guyana. Production there “continues at higher than expected levels contributing to historic economic growth for the people of Guyana,” Mr. Woods said.