Chevron said its earnings fell 28.4% in the third quarter, and Sun reported a $160-million loss resulting from write-downs on various oil fields.
Chevron said earnings fell to $245 million from $342 million a year ago. Quarterly sales were down 28% to $10.3 billion from $14.3 billion a year ago.
Sun earned $122 million a year ago. Quarterly sales fell 3% to $3.3 billion from $3.4 billion a year ago. The Radnor, Pa.-based company took a $275-million write-down on various oil fields that the company plans to sell, a spokesman said.
Chevron Chairman George M. Keller attributed Chevron's earnings decline to a $62-million adjustment related to the 1984 merger between Chevron and Gulf, $29 million in foreign exchange losses and a $13-million write-off of a surplus tanker.
Chevron said lower product sales resulted from the sale of its Southeast refining and marketing assets to Standard Oil (Ohio) in February and the sale of Gulf Canada to Olympia & York in August.
Led by higher gasoline prices, Chevron's earnings from domestic petroleum operations surged 17% to $301 million from $257 million a year ago, helping to offset oil production declines that included a $25-million loss suffered when hurricanes Danny and Elena forced the company to temporarily halt Gulf Coast production.
San Francisco-based Chevron said that foreign petroleum operations earnings plunged 64% to $87 million from $246 million a year ago, largely due to lower crude oil production and prices. The chemical unit lost $2 million; it earned $1 million a year ago. The minerals unit lost $16 million, compared to a $15-million loss a year ago.
Chevron said it reduced its $12-billion debt by $2.7 billion in the third quarter, primarily through asset sales. Chevron took on much of that debt to acquire Gulf. The company said that, so far, it has reduced its debt by $4.6 billion. Also, Chevron said the previously announced $360-million sale of the Bluebell-Altamont oil field in Utah to Proven Properties would be recorded in the fourth quarter.