HOUSTON, Oct. 28 (UPI) -- Earnings reports from some of the largest U.S. oil companies, Exxon and Chevron, reflect what top executives said Friday were persistent industry challenges.
"While the operating environment remains challenging, the company continues to focus on capturing efficiencies, advancing strategic investments, and creating long-term shareholder value," Exxon Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson said in a statement.
The company reported third quarter net income of $2.65 billion, against $4.24 billion during the same period last year. Production was down 3 percent to 3.8 million barrels of oil equivalent per day.
It's the fourth consecutive quarter for a downtown for the world's largest publicly traded oil company. First quarter earnings of $1.8 billion were the weakest in more than a decade.
Crude oil prices have been steady at around $50 per barrel for much of the October and sentiments so far suggest the market is slowly returning to a healthier balance between supply and demand. In part in response to higher production from the United States, crude oil prices dipped below $30 per barrel earlier this year.
Chevron Corp turned in third quarter earnings of $1.3 billion, against the $2 billion reported during the same period last year. Chairman and CEO John Watson said that, while results were down from last year, performance overall was better than the first two quarters of 2016.
"Capital spending and operating and administrative expenses have been reduced by over $10 billion from the first nine months of 2015 as a result of a series of deliberate actions we have taken," he added.
Nevertheless, earnings reports out so far suggest recovery may be coming to some parts of the energy sector. Weatherford International, one of the larger companies servicing the exploration and production side of the energy sector, said its results for the third quarter were indicative of a market that turned the corner as crude oil prices start to even out.
Rival companies Baker Hughes and Schlumberger each said that, while markets were still under pressure, the outlook moving into the fourth quarter was positive.