NEW YORK — Exxon Mobil’s profits fell dramatically in the third quarter as the company was hurt by lower prices for crude oil and natural gas.
The Texas oil giant reported $3.17 billion in profits in the third quarter Friday, down 49% from the same time last year.
Total revenue was $65.05 billion, down 15% from the same time last year.
Oil prices have suffered due to a prolonged trade war between the U.S. and China, which has raised concerns about a global economic slowdown.
Natural gas prices have also been low as a glut of the fuel in the U.S. floods the market.
Despite falling prices, Exxon’s oil production rose 3% to 3.9 million barrels per day, driven primarily by growth in the Permian Basin. Production in the Permian was up 72% compared with the same time last year, the company said.
“We feel really good about the volume growth that we see out there,” said Neil Hansen, vice-president of investor relations, on a conference call with investors. “The resource continues to respond very well.”
Outside the U.S., Exxon had five significant deep-water discoveries in Guyana and Cyprus during the quarter.
Exxon earned 75 cents per share, down 49% from a year ago, which beat expectations of analysts polled by FactSet, who were expecting 69 cents per share. Its profits were helped by a favourable tax-related item of about $300 million.
Exxon also announced it signed an agreement with Mosaic Materials to work on developing carbon capture technology, which seeks to reduce harmful carbon dioxide emissions.
On the conference call, Jason Gabelman, vice-president with Cowen, said there’s concern in the investment community that not all of Exxon’s resources will be able to be developed because of concerns about greenhouse gases, “so your ability to develop a breakthrough technology I think would go a long way.”
Hansen said Exxon has spent $10 billion on technologies to lower emissions since 2000.
“We believe new technologies are needed and we think we have a competitive advantage to participate and find those solutions while at the same time continuing to create value for our shareholders,” Hansen said.
Chevron also saw its profits fall Tuesday. The California company reported earning $2.58 billion in the third quarter, down 36% from the same time last year. Revenue was down 18% to $36.12 billion.
“Third quarter earnings and cash flow were solid, but down from our very strong results of a year ago,” said Michael Wirth, Chevron’s CEO, in a news release. “Lower crude oil and natural gas prices more than offset a 3 per cent increase in net oil-equivalent production from last year’s third quarter.”
Exxon’s share price was up 2.5% to $69.25 in mid-day training. Chevron’s stock rose slightly to $116.46.
Cathy Bussewitz, The Associated Press