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Chevron profits tumble because of cheap oil

August 01, 2009|Associated Press

Chevron Corp., the No. 2 U.S. oil company, said that its second-quarter profit fell 71% and that it put its entire land-based natural gas drilling operation on hold, citing dismal demand.

"By the end of the year, we will not have a single gas land-rig running," George Kirkland, a Chevron executive vice president, said in a conference call.

Chevron, based in San Ramon, Calif., and other oil companies are taking a hard look at their finances after a woeful six months in which slumping energy demand slashed profits for every international integrated crude producer.

Royal Dutch Shell said it would cut jobs and capital spending. Such a decision would have raised concerns several months ago about a price spike should the global economy rebound. In the current environment, cutting capital spending may be inevitable.

Chevron said net income was $1.75 billion, or 87 cents a share, for the three months that ended June 30. That compared with $5.98 billion, or $2.90, in the same period last year.

The company said its net income suffered from a weak U.S. dollar, resulting in $453 million in reduced earnings. That compares with an income benefit of $126 million in the same period last year.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of 95 cents a share.

Revenue fell 51% to $40 billion.

Chevron's production numbers stood out when compared with those of other major oil companies reporting earnings this week.

Chevron boosted net oil-equivalent production by 5%. On Thursday, Royal Dutch Shell, Europe's biggest oil company, said its production declined 6%. Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's biggest publicly traded oil company, said production fell 3%.

Shares of Chevron rose $1.77, or 2.6%, to $69.47 on Friday.

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