Exxon Mobil Earnings Jump on Higher Crude Prices, Refining Margins

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Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) reported estimated third-quarter 2017 results before markets opened Friday. The integrated oil and gas giant posted quarterly diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.93 on revenues of $66.17 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $0.63 on revenues of $58.68 billion. Third-quarter results also compare to the consensus estimates for EPS of $0.86 on revenues of $63.39 billion.

Profits increased more than 40% from $2.89 billion in the year-ago quarter to $4.09 billion. In the U.S. upstream division, the company posted a net loss of $238 million, well below a net loss of $477 million in the year-ago quarter.

Worldwide upstream earnings totaled $1.8 billion, compared with $708 million in the third quarter of 2016. Higher prices increased earnings by $860 million while higher volume and mix effects added $20 million and other items added $70 million, as lower expenses were partly offset by unfavorable foreign exchange effects.

In the downstream division, earnings rose to $1.5 billion, up by $303 million year over year. Higher refining margins increased earnings by $1 billion, while volume and mix effects decreased earnings by $160 million. All other items decreased earnings by $550 million, reflecting a lack asset management gains from an asset sale valued at $380 in the prior year quarter and higher expenses due to Hurricane Harvey. Petroleum product sales of 5.5 million barrels per day were 43,000 barrels per day lower than last year’s third quarter.

Oil-equivalent production in the second quarter increased by 3.1% to 2.28 million barrels a day. U.S. production rose by 16,000 barrels a day to 500,000 barrels. U.S. natural gas production decreased by 159 million cubic feet per day year-over-year to 2.9 million cubic feet. Worldwide natural gas production rose by 16 million cubic feet per day to 9.59 billion cubic feet.

Capital spending totaled $5.99 billion in the third quarter, compared with $4.19 billion in the third quarter of last year. U.S. upstream spending increased from $712 million to $1.1 billion.

CEO and Chairman Darren Woods said:

A 50 percent increase in earnings through solid business performance and higher commodity prices is a step forward in our plan to grow profitability. For the fourth-consecutive quarter, we generated cash flow from operations and asset sales that more than covered our dividends and net investments in the business.

The company did not provide guidance in its press release, but analysts expect fourth-quarter EPS of $0.94 on revenues of $70.54 billion, compared with EPS of $0.90 and revenues of $61.02 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016. For the full year, analysts are looking for EPS of $3.50 on revenues of $262.8 billion.

Third-quarter results were solid if not exciting, and early reaction to the report underscores that view. Exxon’s shares traded up about 0.8% in Friday’s premarket to $84.10, in a 52-week range of $76.05 to $93.22. Analysts had a 12-month price target of $83.40 before this morning’s report.