Exxon Mobil’s profit falls short of natural gas

Exxon Mobil Corp reported a 21% drop in quarterly profit on Friday, hit by weaker natural gas prices, lower refining profits and a loss in its U.S. chemicals business.

The largest U.S. oil producer’s net income fell to $3.13 billion, or 73 cents per share, in the second quarter, from $3.95 billion, or 92 cents per share, last year.

Analysts had expected Exxon to report earnings of 66 cents per share, according to data from Refinitiv. Analysts sharply lowered their expectations after the company disclosed weaker results last month, and had expected Exxon to earn 97 cents a share early in July.

“Pretty weak quarter from them once again,” said Jennifer Rowland, analyst with Edward Jones. “They missed already lowered expectations across all segments.” After capital spending and dividends, Exxon had a free cash flow shortfall of $2.7 billion, similar to last quarter, Rowland added.

Exxon’s oil equivalent production rose 7% to 3.9 million barrels per day, boosted by output in the top U.S. shale field. Exxon’s Permian Basin production was up 90% from the previous year, the company said.

The chemicals business fell to a loss in the United States for the first time in at least three years.

Lower margins and downtime drove refining profits down 88 percent over last year.

Exxon’s weaker results mirrored those at rivals Royal Dutch Shell , Equinor and Total SA . Shell posted its smallest profit in 30 months on weaker margins in chemicals, a loss in refining and tumbling natural gas prices. Total also cited weaker natural gas and refining operations for earnings that fell 19% from a year ago, while Equinor’s profit fell 27% on weaker oil and gas prices.

Exxon boosted its estimated recoverable reserves in its offshore Guyana project to more than 6 billion barrels of oil equivalent, from 5.5 billion barrels.

Exxon shares rose slightly in premarket trading to $72.80./Investing.com

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