Exxon’s Net Rises, but Energy Output Falls

From The Wall Street Journal

By Angel Gonzalez and Melodie Warner

Exxon Mobil Corp.’s XOM fourth-quarter earnings rose 5.9% as strength in its refining business helped offset lower energy production, while Chevron Corp. CVX reported gains in both earnings and output.

Exxon, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company saw its production levels fall to a three-year low during the third quarter. Unstable prices for crude oil and natural gas have also challenged Exxon’s revenue in recent quarters.

Nevertheless, a big bump in earnings in its refining and chemical units helped boost Exxon’s profit to $9.95 billion, or $2.20 a share, from $9.4 billion, or $1.97 a share, in the year-earlier quarter. Revenue dropped 5.3% to $115.17 billion.

The quarter also closed Exxon’s best year since 2008 with an annual profit of $44.8 billion, helped by a big divestiture in Japanese downstream assets. In its record-breaking result for 2008, when oil prices soared above $145 per barrel, Exxon posted $45.2 billion in profits.

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