Oil Multinationals Count Earnings, As Outputs’ Feature drop

Differences in viewpoint of performance which is due to depressing nature of the reports which stipulated lower earnings, while outputs were disfigured by natural disaster and delay in maintenance. .The third quarter financial reports posted by the by the oil firms, obtained recently, showed a slight improvement in their performances, as profit grows arithmetically from the previous year’s results. According to the reports, Chevron Corp. earnings were much lower than expected as maintenance exacerbated a decline this year in oil and natural gas production, and shares of the second-largest United States oil company slid 2.5 per cent. Third-quarter production fell to 2.52 million barrels of oil equivalent per day from 2.60 million bpd a year earlier. With a fourth-quarter bounce expected, Chevron expected 2012 production to average about 2.6 million bpd, or 97 per cent of its original 2.68 million bpd target. Increasing output from the wellhead is a struggle for many big oil companies, including Exxon Mobil Corp and Royal Dutch Shell. With oil and gas assets tightly controlled by the countries where they are located, the majors are left to drill in pricier areas on land and offshore. For Chevron, the third quarter was marred by a huge fire at its Richmond refinery in California that damaged the crude unit there and now expected to be repaired in the first quarter. However, the company said this had a limited impact on third-quarter earnings, which were hit hard by weak marketing margins. Overall, third-quarter net income fell to $5.25 billion, or $2.69 per share, from $7.83 billion, or $3.92 per share, a year earlier. Earnings dropped 17 per cent to $5.1 billion in the oil and gas production business and plunged 65 per cent to $689 million in the refining, or downstream, operation. Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil reported lustreless earnings due to declination in natural gas and oil production and weak prices of domestic gas. The executives said that the global oil business is hurt by distress in economy of Japan and Europe and slow growth rate in China. The net income of Exxon Mobil was $9.57 billion in this quarter, dropping from $10.33 billion of last year’s income. The revenue was $115.71 billion, 8 per cent lesser than in third quarter of 2011. However, the earnings rose by 10 per cent in the first nine months. The net earnings as reported by Shell were $6.6 billion, dropping from $7 billion in third quarter of 2011. The company was compelled to write down $354 million in gas field assets during this quarter. Shell profits in the quarter were up 2.3 per cent to $7.14 billion from previous year, including inventory changes and extraordinary items. Shell’s production of oil was severely hurt by flooding, political instability, and theft in Nigeria, while Exxon Mobil suffered production problems in North Sea and Kazakhstan. Exxon reports show that there was a 1.8 per cent decline in oil production and 1.3 per cent decline in gas production, by excluding production-sharing contracts, divestitures, and quotas fixed by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. Shell reported 1per cent decline in both gas and oil production. Total SA (FP), Europe’s third-largest oil producer, said profit grew 20 per cent in the third quarter, beating analyst estimates as earnings from refining improved. Profit excluding changes in inventories rose to 3.3 billion euros ($4.3 billion) in the third quarter from 2.8 billion euros a year earlier, the Paris-based company said. Total’s production fell 2 per cent to 2.27 million barrels of oil equivalent a day in the quarter as field halts, including those in the North Sea, countered growth from new projects. Benchmark Brent crude futures dropped 2.4 per cent in the period from a year earlier as slowing global growth curbed demand. Production this year has been hurt by a natural-gas leak at the Elgin platform that forced the evacuation and shutdown of North Sea deposits. The company is seeking to resume operations at the fields by the end of the year, it said. Production Outlook showed that output in the fourth quarter will be affected by flooding in Nigeria, as well as high levels of planned maintenance in offshore Nigeria, the U.K.’s North Sea and Qatar. That may be partly countered by startups in South Mahakam in Indonesia and Angola, de la Chevardiere added. The company said in September it expects to increase output by an average of 3 percent a year from 2011 to 2015. It has also set a longer-term target of reaching about 3 million barrels of oil equivalent a day in 2017. Italy’s largest natural gas and oil company, Eni said third quarter earnings have risen due to higher production in Libya. Eni said that net profit for the quarter that ended Sept. 30 was (EURO) 2.5 billion ($3.2 billion), compared with (EURO)1.77 billion a year earlier. Profit was higher than the $1.58 billion expected in the markets.