Exxon beats earnings expectations even as lower oil prices weigh on profits

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An Exxon Mobil gas station in Washington, DC, US, on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 203.
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Exxon Mobil reported quarterly earnings that beat Wall Street’s expectations, but the company’s profit declined significantly from same period the year prior as oil prices weakened.

Exxon declared a dividend for the first quarter of 95 cents per share payable on March 11. The company returned $32.4 billion to shareholders in 2023 through $14.9 billion in dividends and $17.4 billion in share buybacks.

Exxon’s stock rose about 1% in premarket trading.

Here’s what Exxon reported for the fourth quarter compared with what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by LSEG, formerly known as Refinitiv:

  • Earnings per share: $2.48 adjusted vs. $2.21 expected
  • Revenue: $84.3 billion vs. $85.2 billion expected

Exxon reported net income of $7.63 billion, or $1.91 per share, in the final three months of 2023, down 40% from the $12.75 billion, or $3.09 per share, profit reported in the same quarter in 2022.

Profits were hurt by a $2 billion impairment charge in California from regulatory issues that prevented production and distribution from coming back on line. Excluding those charges, Exxon earned $2.48 per share, beating Wall Street’s expectations of $2.21 per share.

Crude oil prices were volatile in 2023, with West Texas Intermediate and Brent falling more than 10% for the year on a weakening Chinese economy and record oil production in the U.S.

Exxon’s stock reached a 2023 closing high of $120.20 on Sept. 27, when oil prices hit their peak but the company’s shares finished out the year 16% lower from that high as crude pulled back.

Exxon’s profits from its oil and gas segment declined to $4.1 billion in the quarter, down 49% compared to the $8.2 billion reported in the year ago period. The company’s energy products saw profits fall to $3.2 billion, down 21% compared to $4.07 billion in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Exxon produced 3.73 million oil equivalent barrels per day in 2023, largely flat compared to the year prior. Production in the Permian Basin and Guyana increased 18% over 2022, according to the company.

The oil major agreed to buy shale rival Pioneer Natural Resources in October for about $60 billion in an all-stock transaction. The deal is expected to close in the first half of this year.

Read the full press release here.

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