Both Conoco and Shell missed earnings estimates for the fourth quarter. Shell blamed rising costs and Conoco blamed its loss of refining income since the spin-off of Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) and lower prices as supplies grow.
Conoco faced a price drop of 31% in bitumen production from the Canadian oil sands, as well as pricing drops of 2.7% for crude and 18% for natural gas liquids. The company figures 2013 full-year production will average 1.475 million to 1.525 million barrels of oil equivalent a day, compared with 1.578 million barrels in 2012.
Shell plans to drill its way to profits. The company said today that it will boost its capital spending from about $30 billion in 2012 to $33 billion this year. By 2017 the company plans to produce 4 million barrels of oil equivalent a day, up from 3.3 million barrels in 2012. Capex spending will have to rise significantly every year in order for the firm to meet its 2017 goal.
Exxon reports quarterly and full-year results tomorrow morning and the consensus estimates call for quarterly earnings per share (EPS) of $2.00 on revenues of $115.22 billion, as well as full-year EPS of $7.91 on revenues of $459.12 billion. Exxon’s production fell 7.5% year-over-year in the third quarter, and a similar drop this quarter could stifle earnings. The company has failed to meet EPS estimates in two of the past four quarters, and the estimate for the fourth quarter has dropped by $0.04 in the past three months.
Chevron also reports results tomorrow, and consensus estimates call for quarterly EPS of $3.04 on revenues of $68.64 billion, as well as full-year EPS of $12.48 on revenues of $245.89 billion. Chevron has fallen short of EPS estimates in three of the past four quarters. Production fell by 3% year-over-year in the third quarter, although the company expected production to rise in the fourth quarter. EPS estimates have dropped for Chevron over the past 90 days as well.
BP reports next Tuesday, and it is expected to post quarterly EPS of $1.11 on revenues of $82.63 billion, as well as full-year EPS of $4.91 on revenues of $331.54 billion. BP has its own unique issues, but it too has failed to meet EPS estimates in two of the past four quarters. The current estimate for the fourth quarter is 26% lower than it was three months ago. Third-quarter production was down about 3% year-over-year.