Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), the world’s largest company by market value, said net income exceeded $10 billion for a third consecutive quarter as rallying crude prices more than made up for the biggest production decline in three years.
Oil and natural-gas production fell 3.8 percent to the equivalent of 4.28 million barrels of crude a day, the largest decline since the third quarter of 2008, according to Bloomberg data. The drop was smaller than the double-digit production shortfalls reported earlier this week by rivals such as BP Plc, ConocoPhillips and Hess Corp. (HES)
Third-quarter profit rose to $10.33 billion, or $2.13 a share, from $7.35 billion, or $1.44, a year earlier, the Irving, Texas-based company said today in a Business Wire statement. The per-share result was in line with the average estimate of 19 analysts in a Bloomberg survey. Sales rose 32 percent to $125 billion.
“These guys keep pushing the oil out and selling it like it’s going out of style,” Douglas Ober, who manages $1.6 billion at Adams Express Co. and Petroleum & Resources Corp. in Baltimore.
$10 Billion Streak
The last time Exxon’s quarterly profits exceeded $10 billion for three consecutive periods was 2008, when Brent oil touched an all-time record of $147.50 a barrel and the company reaped $45.22 billion in full-year net income. So far this year, Exxon shares have risen 12 percent, poised for the best annual performance since 2007.
Exxon’s 41 percent profit increase was the second-largest among major international oil companies that have announced third-quarter results. Only Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the world’s third-largest energy company by market value behind Exxon and PetroChina Co., boasted a larger jump, by doubling net income to $7 billion.
State-controlled PetroChina lifted third-quarter profit by 7.8 percent. BP Plc, owner of the Macondo well that erupted last year and fouled the Gulf of Mexico with millions of barrels of crude, posted a 3.6 percent decline in net income. ConocoPhillips (COP), based in Houston, said third-quarter profit fell 14 percent.
Rounding out the largest international oil companies, Chevron Corp. and France’s Total SA are scheduled to announce results tomorrow, followed by Rio de Janeiro-based Petroleo Brasileiro next month.
Brent crude futures, the benchmark for two-thirds of the world’s oil, jumped 46 percent during the July-through-September period to average $112.09 a barrel.
Exxon Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson plans to spend as much as $37 billion this year to find untapped oil and gas reserves, construct gas-export terminals and expand refineries and chemical plants. In August, Tillerson signed a $3.2 billion agreement with Russia’s state-controlled OAO Rosneft to drill wells in the Black Sea and offshore Arctic.
In exchange, Moscow-based Rosneft will be allowed to invest in some deep-water Gulf of Mexico and onshore Texas prospects, David Rosenthal, vice president for investor relations, said today during a conference call with analysts. Exxon won’t swap any assets with Rosneft, he said.
The Rosneft deal was Exxon’s biggest transaction since its $34.9 billion acquisition last year of XTO Energy, a Fort Worth, Texas-based natural-gas producer. Tillerson is using XTO’s expertise in cracking open dense, gas-rich shale rock to access previously-impenetrable geologic formations in Poland and elsewhere.
Exxon shares rose 1 percent to $81.88 at the closing of trading in New York. The stock has 14 buy recommendations from analysts, 11 holds and two sells.
A well in the Turkish sector of the Black Sea that failed to discover oil or gas has been plugged and abandoned, Exxon’s Rosenthal said today.
Exxon plans to begin drilling for oil in the Romanian sector of the Black Sea next year and the Russian sector in 2014, Rosenthal said.
In the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, the company today increased its estimate for the size of the column of oil-soaked rock discovered in the Hadrian prospect to 1,000 feet (305 meters) from a previous 750-foot estimate. The figure was revised after additional drilling, Rosenthal said. In June, when the discovery was announced, Exxon said the field probably holds the equivalent of 700 million barrels of crude.
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