Exxon earning and spending more

U.S. supermajor posts big gains for the third quarter, despite the impact from Hurricane Harvey
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Oct. 27, 2017 at 9:06 AM
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Oct. 27 (UPI) -- Even though Hurricane Harvey had a $160 million impact on earnings, U.S. supermajor Exxon Mobil said third quarter performance was indicative of recovery.

"A 50 percent increase in earnings through solid business performance and higher commodity prices is a step forward in our plan to grow profitability," Chairman and CEO Darren Woods said in a statement. "For the fourth-consecutive quarter, we generated cash flow from operations and asset sales that more than covered our dividends and net investments in the business."

The company said its earnings from exploration and production rose to $1.6 billion because of a recovery in commodity prices. The price for Brent crude oil is up about 7 percent from the start of the year to around $59 per barrel, thought that point is a sharp rebound from yearly lows in the mid-$40 range.

Hurricane Harvey, meanwhile, took $160 million off the quarterly figures. Upstream company Oil States International, which operates five manufacturing facilities in Houston, reported a net loss for the third quarter of $15 million, a loss it attributed in part to damage from Harvey and lower activity from U.S. deep water operations.

Exxon said its exploration and production figures in the United States, meanwhile, resulted in a loss of $238 million, though that was an improvement over the $477 million loss during the same period last year. Exploration and production outside the United States led to earnings of $1.8 billion for Exxon, up from the $708 million during third quarter 2016.

Exploration and production trends had moved lower for the better part of the year as historically low oil priced curbed spending. Exxon said its spending on exploration in the third quarter was 3 percent lower during the first nine months of the year.

Reported as rig counts, recent upstream trend improvements have been supported by the rally in crude oil prices. Compared with third quarter 2016, Exxon spent 43 percent more on exploration and production.

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