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Higher Prices Boost Oil Company Profits

April 26, 2000|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Surging oil prices pushed up the earnings of Exxon Mobil Corp., Texaco Inc., Conoco Inc. and Tosco Corp., but record gasoline prices produced only lackluster refinery and marketing profits, the oil companies said.

Exxon Mobil, the world's largest publicly traded oil company, saw profit more than double to $3.35 billion. Earnings surged almost sixfold to $602 million at Texaco, the third-largest U.S. oil company, and almost fivefold to $391 million at Conoco, the fifth-largest. All three beat the average estimates of analysts polled by First Call/Thomson Financial.

Tosco, the nation's largest independent oil refiner and one of California's biggest gasoline retailers, said net income more than doubled to $74.9 million, but the results fell short of estimates.

The oil giants' exploration earnings surged as U.S. crude oil prices averaged $28.82 a barrel in the quarter, more than double year-earlier levels.

Profit from operations at Exxon Mobil of Irving, Texas, rose to $3.35 billion, or 95 cents a share, from pro forma profit of $1.61 billion, or 46 cents, a year earlier. Revenue rose 42% to $55.1 billion.

Oil and gas exploration earnings rose to $2.8 billion. Earnings from refining and fuel sales fell 31%.

Profit from operations at Texaco rose to $602 million, or $1.10 a share, from $105 million, or 18 cents. Sales rose 57% to $11.3 billion. Texaco, based in White Plains, N.Y., said profit from its U.S. network of refineries and gas stations plunged 76% to $13 million.

Houston-based Conoco's first-quarter profit from operations rose to $391 million, or 62 cents a share, from $83 million, or 13 cents, a year earlier. Sales jumped 63% to $8.69 billion from $5.34 billion.

Profit from finding and selling oil and gas almost quadrupled to $412 million. U.S. refining earnings fell 71% to $5 million.

Tosco, based in Stamford, Conn., announced net income for the quarter of $74.9 million, or 50 cents per diluted share, on sales of $4.6 billion, more than double net income of $27.9 million, or 18 cents per share, a year ago.

Refining profits jumped 113% to $247 million, Tosco said. But because gas prices did not rise as fast or as much as oil prices, retailing margins on the West Coast were negative for a time, leading to Tosco's first quarterly loss for its retailing system.


Bloomberg News and Bridge News were used in compiling this report.

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