June 17, 2019

Profit Jumps at Exxon and Shell

LONDON — Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell reported hefty increases in their first-quarter profit on Thursday, helped by higher oil prices and earnings from refining.

Exxon Mobil, the largest American oil company, said net income rose 69 percent to $10.7 billion, or $2.14 a share, in the first three months of this year, from $6.3 billion, or $1.33 a share, in the same period last year.

The earnings beat some analysts’ expectations, and marked the fifth quarter in a row that Exxon reported an earnings increase.

Shell reported earlier on Thursday that its profit for the period rose 30 percent.

Oil companies are benefiting from a rise of more than 30 percent of the price of oil over the last twelve months. Concerns about political unrest in North Africa and the Middle East had pushed up prices to heights some analysts said were not justified by the level of demand. Continued growth in economic demand is expected to support a relatively high price of oil but there are signs that rising gasoline prices are keeping some consumers in the United States from filling up their tanks.

Exxon’s earnings “reflect continued leadership in operational performance during a period of strong commodity prices,” said Exxon’s chairman Rex W. Tillerson in a statement.

Exxon’s and Shell’s earnings outshone those of rivals BP and ConocoPhillips, which reported figures Wednesday. BP reported a drop in first-quarter earnings because of costs linked to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and ConocoPhillips missed some analysts’ expectations because of a decline in production. Chevron, the No. 2 American oil company, is set to report earnings on Friday.

Revenue at Exxon increased 26 percent to $114 billion from $90.3 billion and oil-equivalent production increased more than 10 percent from the first quarter of last year. A group of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters on average expected Exxon to report a first-quarter profit of $2.07 per share.

Royal Dutch Shell, Europe’s biggest oil company by market value, said profit excluding one-time items rose to $6.3 billion from $4.8 billion after refining profit more than doubled to $1.65 billion. The shares gained 1 percent in early trading in London, but were flat by mid-afternoon.

Shell’s chief executive Peter Voser has been cutting costs and selling assets to make the company more profitable. Earlier this year, he said he would continue to reduce costs by another $1 billion and at the same time increase output by investing in new projects, including in Qatar.

“We are making good progress against our targets, to deliver a more competitive performance,” Mr. Voser said in a statement Thursday.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=e7b89fa5444a5fae81dd23337b039edd

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