Chevron profits jump, top Wall St view

Chevron profits jump, top Wall St view

New York: Chevron Corp said quarterly profit more than doubled, easily beating forecasts, as a strong bounce in oil prices offset lower earnings from its refineries.

First-quarter net profit at the second-largest US oil company rose to $4.55 billion, or $2.27 per share, from $1.84 billion, or 92 cents per share, a year earlier. Sales rose 34% to $46.7 billion.

Excluding $175 million in charges for job cuts, the San Ramon, California-based company earned $2.36 per share, easily topping the $1.94 that analysts on average had forecast, according to Thomson Reuters.

Chevron and other oil companies’ offshore operations are coming under increased scrutiny because of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and the White House said it would not open new regions to drilling until the cause of the disaster had been determined.

It was Chevron’s first set of results under Chief Executive John Watson, who plans to turn around the refining business while proceeding with a line-up of oil and gas production projects.

Oil and gas production climbed to 2.78 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in the quarter, up 120,000 barrels per day, as the company increased its output in the United States, Nigeria, Angola and at Tengiz in Kazakhstan.

The company’s downstream, or refining and marketing, business, posted profits of $82 million in the quarter, compared with $136 million a year earlier.

Earlier on Friday, French peer Total SA posted a 9% increase in quarterly profit, in line with analysts’ expectations.

Most of the world’s leading private-sector oil companies reported stronger-than-expected profits this week, while market leader Exxon Mobil Corp was hit by the impact of US health reform and a weak refining performance.

Shares of Chevron were down 6 cents at $82.29 in trading before the market opened.