Surging Chevron, Exxon profits signal oil industry turnaround
By Ernest Scheyder
HOUSTON (Reuters) - Rising crude prices helped Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil Corp easily beat analysts' quarterly profit expectations on Friday, setting an upbeat tone as the two companies press ahead with shale oil expansions.
While cost cuts and asset sales provided a boost to both companies, the results highlighted the slowly improving dynamics for the energy industry as oil prices have climbed more than 50 percent since early 2016.
First-quarter results were especially robust at Exxon, with quarterly profit more than doubling to $4.01 billion, even as production fell 4 percent.
Chevron swung to a $2.68 billion quarterly profit and turned cash flow positive, earning more than it spent, a milestone Wall Street analysts had long sought. Cash flow should continue to rise further, Chief Financial Officer Pat Yarrington told investors on a Friday conference call.
Chevron's results were helped by $2.1 billion in asset sales. The company has sold more than $5 billion in assets since last year and is seeking buyers for its Canadian oil sands business, sources have told Reuters.
If Chevron sells the business, "we'd want to make sure we got full value for it," Yarrington said.
Shares of both Exxon and Chevron rose less than 1 percent in afternoon trading as U.S. oil prices traded flat near $49 per barrel.
Their energy peers, BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, are set to report quarterly results next week. Continued...