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Profits at Mobil, Ashland Higher Despite Oil Glut

July 23, 1986

Mobil Corp., the nation's second-largest oil company, reported Tuesday that because of certain non-recurring gains, its second-quarter earnings were 42% higher than in the same period a year ago.

Ashland Oil, ranked No. 14 by 1985 revenue, said its quarterly profit was up 33%, including a record net income from operations.

Both companies benefited from stronger performances in such "downstream" operations as refining, marketing, transportation and supply, which offset lower incomes from production of crude oil and natural gas.

Mobil said it earned $582 million, up from $411 million in the second quarter of 1985. Revenue totaled $12.2 billion, down from $14.3 billion a year ago.

Mobil Chairman Allen E. Murray said the second-quarter performance included a net gain of $196 million from special items on top of $396 million in operating earnings. These included a $187-million profit from Mobil's sale of its 25% interest in operations in Angola to Japan's Mitsubishi Petroleum Development Co., completed in April, and various other adjustments.

"Excluding the special items, operating income was down only marginally from the second quarter of 1985, as the effects of lower crude and natural gas prices on exploration and production earnings were offset by stronger performances in downstream petroleum operations," Murray said in a statement.

The company said its U.S. petroleum earnings of $163 million were $74 million less than in the second quarter of 1985, while refining and marketing operating results improved "significantly," partly due to an 11% increase in gasoline sales. Mobil's chemical operations earned $32 million, up from $14 million a year ago.

Ashland, based in Ashland, Ky., said it earned $80.2 million in its third quarter ended June 30, up from $60.3 million. Revenue totaled $1.8 billion, down from $2.1 billion last year.

Ashland Chairman and Chief Executive John R. Hall said those results "represent record net income from operations for the quarter . . . exceeded only in fiscal 1979 and 1980, which included significant gains from the sale of oil and gas properties."

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