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Exxon boasts of balance during downturn

Third quarter results for U.S. supermajor show industry hurt despite company's mixed operations.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Exxon boasts of balance during downturn
Exxon says upstream operations offsetting some of its industry declines, though overall third quarter results show energy sector still suffering through market downturn. Photo by Oskari Porkka/Shutterstock

IRVING, Texas, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- U.S. supermajor Exxon Mobil said declines in its exploration and production operations were offset by gains downstream, where lower prices actually helped.

"Quarterly results reflect the continued strength of our downstream and chemical businesses and underscore the benefits of our integrated business model," Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson said in a statement.

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Exxon said its upstream, or exploration and production sector, suffered "significantly" during the market downturn as crude oil prices continue to starve companies of revenue. Exxon reported third quarter earnings of $4.2 billion, down nearly 50 percent from last year.

Crude oil prices are lower in part because markets are oversupplied at a time when global economic growth is weak. Exxon said its third-quarter production of 3.9 million barrels of oil equivalent per day was a 2.3 percent increase.

Downstream -- the refining side of the industry -- saw earnings nearly double from third quarter 2014. That's partially a result of lower costs brought on by the industry downturn.

Earnings of $5.2 billion in the downstream sector marked a $2.7 billion increase from 2014.

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Expenses, meanwhile were down $231 million from 2014 to $1.5 billion for the first nine months of the year. Spending on the exploration side of the industry was down 16 percent from 2014 to $23.6 billion.

"We maintain a relentless focus on business fundamentals, including cost management, regardless of commodity prices," Tillerson said.

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