Exxon Earnings Had Only a Little to Do With Oil Production

February 1, 2019 by Paul Ausick

Source: David McNew / Getty Images
Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) reported estimated fourth-quarter and full-year 2018 results before markets opened Friday. For the quarter, the integrated oil and gas giant posted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.41 on revenues of $71.9 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company said it had EPS of $1.97 on revenues of $66.52 billion. Fourth-quarter results also compare to the consensus estimates for EPS of $1.08 on revenues of $78.38 billion.

For the full year, Exxon reported EPS of $4.88 and revenues of $290.21 billion, compared with 2017 EPS of $4.63 and revenues of $244.36 billion. Analysts had projected EPS of $4.57 and revenues of $316.05 billion.

Net income in the latest quarter dropped 28% from $8.38 billion a year ago to $6 billion. Oil-equivalent production rose 0.4% year over year in the fourth quarter from 3.99 million barrels a day last year to 4.01 million barrels a day, primarily due to a liquids increase of 97,000 barrels a day. Full-year production dipped from 3.99 million barrels a day to 3.83 million barrels

Worldwide upstream earnings totaled $3.31 billion, compared with $8.35 billion in the year-ago quarter. U.S. earnings dropped from $7.06 billion to $265 million. Non-U.S. earnings rose from $1.29 billion in 2017 to $3.05 billion in 2018. Excluding earnings related to tax reform, U.S. earnings in 2018 totaled $549 million compared to a net loss of $60 million in 2017.

In the U.S. downstream division, earnings rose 7.5% to $987 million, up by $69 million year over year. On an adjusted basis, U.S. downstream earnings rose from $306 million to $999 million, due primarily to higher margins and lower downtime. Non-U.S. earnings rose from $646 billion to $1.73 billion, primarily as a result of the sale of a European refinery.

Capital spending totaled $7.84 billion in the quarter, down 13% year over year. For the full year, Exxon’s capex totaled $25.92 billion, an increase of 12% year over year.

CEO and Chair Darren Woods said:

Our continued focus on long-term fundamentals and portfolio improvements position us well to grow shareholder value. ExxonMobil’s 2018 results further demonstrate our advantages in technology, scale and integration, providing a strong foundation to successfully compete across commodity price cycles.

The company did not provide guidance in its press release, but analysts are expecting first-quarter 2019 EPS of $0.93 on revenues of $98.59 billion, compared with EPS of $1.09 and revenues of $68.21 billion in the first quarter of 2018. For the full year, analysts are looking for EPS of $4.36 on revenues of $304.59 billion.

Exxon’s shares traded up about 1.9% in Friday’s premarket, at $74.67 in a 52-week range of $72.02 to $87.36. Analysts had a 12-month price target of $82.99 before this morning’s report.

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