April 28 (UPI) -- Cost-saving efforts, coupled with improved market conditions, meant earnings for the first quarter more than doubled from last year, Exxon Mobil said Friday.
Exxon is one of the first big oil companies out with earnings reports following the January implementation of an agreement coordinated by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to balance the market through managed declines. That decision has established a floor price under crude oil of around $50 per barrel, a marked improvement over first quarter 2016 declines below $30 per barrel.
Exxon reported first quarter earnings of $4 billion, compared with $1.8 billion during the first quarter of 2016. Capital spending year-on-year was 19 percent lower for the first quarter.
"Our results reflect an increase in commodity prices and highlight our continued focus on controlling costs and operating efficiently," Chairman and CEO Darren W. Woods said in a statement.
Exxon this year received approval from the Norwegian government to extend the life of a natural gas field in the North Sea for another five years because of new production calculations. Exxon was among the top five bidders for a March auction for exploration rights to acreage in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Elsewhere, Exxon signed contracts to supply liquefied natural gas to Japan, whose demand is growing, though the pace of acceleration is moderating as it retools its energy sector in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
On the divestment side, Exxon during the first quarter sold off options offshore Gabon, nabbing $350 million for the maturing assets.