Shares of Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) slid about 2.5% last week, with most of the dip coming on Thursday. The stock lost $2.76 per share in the holiday-shortened week. For the year to date, Chevron stock is down 9.86%.
Exxon Mobil, the other big energy stock among the Dow 30, is down slightly less for the year to date, 9.49%. Verizon, last week’s worst performer, is down 8.92% for the year to date.
There were several reports last week that OPEC would extend its production cuts for another six months when it meets late in May. The cuts have begun to rebalance supply and demand in the global crude market, but the rebalancing has been slower than expected, primarily due to increased production in U.S. shale fields.
A Thursday report at Canada’s Business News Network cited “people familiar with the situation” who say that Chevron is considering dumping its 20% stake in the Athabasca Oil Sands project. A sale could generate about $2.5 billion for the company.
If a sale does occur, it would exemplify the difficulties yet another supermajor oil company faces in the western Canada oil sands region. In February Exxon wrote down 3.5 billion barrels of proved reserves in the Kearl oil sands project, and last month Shell sold most of its oil sands assets to Canadian Natural Resources for $8.5 billion.
Costs to produce a barrel of oil from Canada’s oil sands are among the highest in the world and crude prices of $50 to $55 a barrel are barely profitable. Only about 20% of the total oil sands resource is profitable at today’s crude prices, and new projects need prices to move north of $80 a barrel to be worth contemplating.
Chevron’s stock closed down about 2.6% on Thursday at $106.10 in a 52-week range of $95.52 to $119.00. The consensus price target is $126.55.