Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) is raising its sequential guidance for the first quarter earnings when compared to the fourth quarter. The company noted that upstream results are projected to improve from higher crude oil prices and lower operating expenses, but this was partly offset by lower liftings. The downstream earnings are expected to be higher on improved refining and chemicals margins. Downstream was also boosted by lower operating expenses and gains on asset sales. While specific earnings were not given, The company reported Q4-2011 earnings of $2.84 earnings per share and Thomson Reuters has estimates of $3.14 earnings per share for the quarter.
One area dragging results is foreign exchange losses being higher than fourth quarter losses, and it was most notable in the upstream segment.
Another drag was that U.S. net oil-equivalent production fell 17,000 barrels per day during the first two months of the first quarter to reflect the sale of Cook Inlet, Alaska assets at the end of 2011. The company noted:
- U.S. crude oil realizations increased $0.28 per barrel during the first two months of the first quarter, while international liquids realizations increased $6.31, to $107.64 per barrel.
- U.S. natural gas realizations decreased $0.92 to $2.70 per thousand cubic feet, while international natural gas realizations increased by $0.27 per thousand cubic feet during the first two months of the first quarter.
- Worldwide refining margins improved compared to fourth quarter 2011, while marketing margins decreased over the same period.
Chevron shares closed down almost 2% at $101.45 but shares were up 0.8% at $102.00 in the after-hours.
JON C. OGG