Chevron Follows Conoco, Exxon on Production Declines (CVX, COP, XOM)

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Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) is the last of the big three US integrated oil companies to report first quarter earnings, and the first to show a profit gain compared with the same period last year. Both ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) and Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) earlier reported a -3% and a -11% profit decline, respectively. Chevron’s EPS rose 4.2% to $3.27, a penny better than the consensus estimate, on revenue of $60.71 billion, far below the consensus estimate of $72.42 billion.

Chevron said that net oil-equivalent production fell -6% to 651,000 barrels/day in its US upstream segment. The liquids portion of production fell -5% to 456,000 barrels/day and net natural gas production fell -8% to 1.17 billion cubic feet/day. The average sales price for crude oil and natural gas liquids (NGLs) rose from $89/barrel a year ago to $102/barrel. Natural gas prices fell from $4.04/thousand cubic feet a year ago to $2.48/thousand cubic feet this year.

Internationally, Chevron’s production fell -86,000 barrels/day to 1.98 million barrels/day of oil equivalent production. Crude oil and NGL prices rose from $95/barrel a year ago to $110/barrel this year, and natural gas prices also rose from $5.03/thousand cubic feet to $5.88 this year. Net liquids production fell -6% to 1.34 million barrels/day and natural gas production rose 1% to 3.85 billion cubic feet/day.

US refining profits rose 3.8% to $459 million and refinery input rose 47,000 barrels/day to 926,000. Product sales fell 41,000 barrels/day due to lower fuel oil and gasoline sales. International refining profits nearly doubled to $345 million, mostly due to the sale of the Chevron’s Spanish fuels and finished lubricants business. International refinery inputs fell by -253,000 barrels/day due to the sale of the company’s Pembroke refinery, and product sales fell by -15%. Excluding the impact of asset sales, international refining sales fell -2%.

Higher realized prices for crude oil made up for lower production. Chevron, unlike Conoco and Exxon, was able to tease out a profit on the strength of its international natural gas sales. Refining profits in the US couldn’t overcome international refining losses, but Chevron has made no noise about dumping its refining business. At least not yet.

Chevron’s shares are down -0.1% at $106.10 in the first half-hour of trading this morning. The stock’s 52-week range is $86.68-$112.28.

Paul Ausick