Exxon Mobil signals better first-quarter earnings as oil prices climb

(Reuters) – Exxon Mobil Corp expects rising first-quarter results across its three major businesses, with an at least $2 billion improvement from prices for oil and gas driving profits, the company signaled in a securities filing on Wednesday.

The largest U.S. oil producer last year posted four consecutive quarterly losses as falling oil prices and refining margins triggered write downs. It slashed operating expenses last year and could post a per share profit of 50 cents for the quarter ended March 31, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The filing, detailing factors that affected the business, showed higher oil prices sequentially lift its oil and gas operating results by between $1.6 billion and $2 billion over the fourth quarter. Natural gas pricing added another up to $700 million to operating profit, it indicated.

The filing also signaled a gain of as much as $1 billion in refining from better margins and unsettled derivatives. Exxon’s chemicals business is seen recording an up to $600 million boost over fourth quarter results in its chemicals business from better margins.

A deep freeze and electric power crisis in Texas in February halted refining and other energy operations for several days.

Storm impacts including lower production and sales volumes or repairs were as high as $700 million across Exxon’s three major businesses.

ConocoPhillips on Wednesday said its first-quarter results will benefit from higher oil prices and output, but the forecast included an about 50,000 barrel per day hit from the Texas storm.

Devon Energy Corp on Monday said winter weather hit first-quarter output by 8%.

Exxon shares have surged more than a third this year to $55.83 as investors bet on a turnaround in oil prices and product demand from pandemic-driven lows.

It provides a snapshot of its key businesses after the end of each quarter to give investors insight into operations.

Official results are scheduled to be released April 29.

Reported first-quarter earnings could hit $2.26 billion, according to Refinitiv IBES, compared with a year-earlier loss of $610 million.

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