Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 results before markets opened this morning.
For the quarter, the oil and gas supermajor posted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $3.70 on revenues of $60.55 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $2.58 on revenues of $59.99 billion. Fourth-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $3.04 and $68.64 billion in revenues.
For the full year, the company posted EPS of $13.32 on revenues of $241.91 billion, compared with EPS of $13.44 on revenues of $253.71 billion in 2011. The consensus estimate called for EPS of $12.48 on revenues of $245.89 billion.
Total production on a barrel of oil equivalent basis rose for the quarter by 20,000 barrels a day. The growth came from natural gas production outside the United States. Liquids production rose by 15,000 barrels a day in the U.S., but fell by 36,000 barrels a day internationally.
The company’s CEO said:
We’ve now led the industry in earnings per barrel for over three years. Our downstream businesses also delivered highly competitive earnings per barrel.
That is perhaps an understatement, even though upstream earnings of $6.86 billion are about seven times higher than downstream earnings. But downstream earnings rose by nearly $1 billion year-over-year in a much tougher business than upstream, which rose by about $1.1 billion year-over-year.
Chevron’s U.S. downstream segment lost $204 million in the fourth quarter of 2011, compared with earnings of $331 million in the 2012 fourth quarter. Internationally, downstream earnings rose from $143 million a year ago to $594 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. Product sales were flat at 1.57 million barrels a day, so all the gains came from margin improvement in the U.S. and the sale of Chevron’s marketing businesses in three Caribbean countries. The shutdown of the company’s Richmond refinery cost slowed refining throughput by 61,000 barrels a day.
Like Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), which reported earnings just before Chevron this morning, refining margins due to falling crude prices made up for production declines. That makes some sense, as global demand is rising more slowly and in some markets, like the U.S. and Europe, actually declining slightly.
The earnings announcement did not include guidance, but the consensus estimate for the first quarter calls for EPS of $3.05 on revenues of $66.01 billion. For the full year, EPS and revenues are estimated at $12.31 and $258.97 billion, respectively.
Chevron’s shares are up 0.6% in premarket trading, at $115.87 in a 52-week range of $95.73 to $118.53. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $123.50 before today’s report.