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Exxon's earnings down 60 percent

U.S. supermajor said its production remains unchanged in an era of oversupply.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Exxon Mobil CEO and Chairman Rex Tillerson says the weak oil economy is taking a protracted toll on earnings, though production levels have been more or less spared. File photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Exxon Mobil CEO and Chairman Rex Tillerson says the weak oil economy is taking a protracted toll on earnings, though production levels have been more or less spared. File photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

IRVING, Texas, July 29 (UPI) -- Estimated quarterly earnings for Exxon Mobil Corp. were down about 60 percent from last year, the company said, pointing to sharply lower energy prices.

Exxon reported second quarter earnings at $1.7 billion, compared with $4.2 billion during the same quarter for 2015.

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"While our financial results reflect a volatile industry environment, ExxonMobil remains focused on business fundamentals, cost discipline and advancing selective new investments across the value chain to extend our competitive advantage," Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson said in a statement.

First quarter earnings of $1.8 billion were the weakest in more than a decade for Exxon as lower commodity prices and weaker refining margins took their toll.

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For the third quarter in a row, Chevron reported a downturn, saying second quarter losses came in at $1.5 billion, against earnings of $571 million year-on-year. Chairman and CEO John Watson said the industry was still working to adjust to the era of lower crude oil prices.

The price for Brent crude oil was moving toward $42 per barrel in early Friday trading, down more than 20 percent from this date in 2015. Despite pressure exerted on corporate purse strings, Exxon said it was able to keep production relatively stable at an average 4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day across its portfolio.

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The company this year boasted of a "world-class discovery" off the coast of Guyana, where recoverable reserves are in the 1 billion barrel range. Ahead of schedule and under budget, Exxon started production at its Julia oil field in the Gulf of Mexico, which has a design capacity of 34,000 barrels of oil per day.

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A surplus of oil, in large part from shale basins in the United States, helped push crude oil prices below $100 per barrel two years ago. Oil prices dropped below $30 per barrel in early 2016 after members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries gave up on a production freeze proposal, moved above $50 per barrel in response to North American shortages, and have since drifted back toward $40 on renewed supply concerns.

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