NEW YORK, Exxon Mobil’s profits plunged by half in the first quarter of the year due to weakness in its refining business and somewhat lower crude oil prices, the company said today.
The US oil giant reported net earnings of just under US$2.4 billion, a stunning decline of 49.5 per cent from the same period of last year, a far a bigger drop than analysts expected. Revenues fell to US$63.5 billion, down 6.7 per cent.
The company’s refining business lost US$256 million in the quarter, compared with US$2.7 billion in profits in the first three months of 2018, due in part to elevated US plant maintenance costs.
The drop came as US oil prices lingered in the US$50-$55 a barrel range, down about US$10 from a year ago. That resulted in lower earnings in upstream drilling and exploration despite higher oil and gas production in the downstream operations.
“Solid operating performance in the first quarter helped mitigate the impact of challenging Downstream and Chemical margin environments,” said Chief Executive Darren Woods.
Exxon’s share price fell 2.4 per cent to US$80.25 in pre-market trading. — AFP