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Exxon overcomes hefty charge and falling crude prices in fourth quarter to top profit expectations

Shares of the Houston-based company rose 2% before the market opened Friday. Photo via exxonmobil.com

ExxonMobil's fourth-quarter revenue and profits declined along with the price of oil, and the energy giant was weighed down by a hefty impairment charge tied to regulatory issues in California. Still, it posted a healthy adjusted profit and the company raised its quarterly dividend.

Shares of the Houston-based company rose 2% before the market opened Friday.

Revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31 declined to $84.34 billion from $95.43 billion. That fell short of the $91.81 billion that analysts polled by Zacks Investment Research expected.

Exxon earned $7.63 billion, or $1.91 per share, for the quarter. A year earlier, it earned $12.75 billion, or $2.25 per share.

The current quarter included a $2.3 billion impairment charge of which $2 billion related to regulatory obstacles in California that have prevented production and distribution assets from coming back online.

Excluding the charge and other items, earnings were $2.48 per share.

Analysts were calling for earnings of $2.21 per share. Exxon does not adjust its reported results based on one-time events such as asset sales.

The Spring, Texas-based company boosted its quarterly dividend 4% to 95 cents per share.

Exxon went on a bit of a shopping spree last year with oil prices surging.

In July, the company said it would pay $4.9 billion for Denbury Resources, an oil and gas producer that has entered the business of capturing and storing carbon and stands to benefit from changes in U.S. climate policy.

In October Exxon topped that deal by announcing that it would buy shale operator Pioneer Natural Resources for $60 billion. Two months later, the Federal Trade Commission, which enforces federal antitrust law, asked for additional information from the companies about the proposed deal. The request is a step the agency takes when reviewing whether a merger could be anticompetitive under U.S. law. Pioneer disclosed the request in a filing Tuesday.

Elevated levels of cash for all big producers drove a massive consolidation in the energy sector. In October Chevron said it would buy Hess Corp. for $53 billion.

Chevron also reported its financial results Friday, posting a fourth-quarter adjusted profit of $3.45 per share on revenue of $47.18 billion. Wall Street was calling for a profit of $3.29 per share on revenue of $52.59 billion. Its stock climbed slightly in premarket.

The San Ramon, California-based company said both U.S. and worldwide annual production hit a record. Chevron's board approved an increase in the quarterly dividend to $1.63 per share, up 8%.

On Thursday, Shell plc reported an adjusted profit of $2.22 for the fourth quarter, with revenue totaling $80.13 billion. Analysts predicted a profit of $1.94 per share. Shell's stock edged slightly higher before the market open.

Oil markets are being stretched by cutbacks in oil production from Saudi Arabia and Russia, and the war between Israel and Hamas still potentially runs the risk of igniting a broader conflict in the Middle East. While attacks on Israel do not disrupt global oil supply, according to an analysis by the U.S Energy Information Administration, “they raise the potential for oil supply disruptions and higher oil prices.”

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A View From HETI

Ten energy tech companies in Houston are among 111 organizations to receive up to $250,000 in vouchers from the DOE's Office of Technology Transitions, totaling $9.8 million in funding. Photo via Getty Images

Ten Houston-area companies will receive vouchers from the Department of Energy's latest round of funding to support the adoption of clean energy tech.

The companies are among 111 organizations to receive up to $250,000 in vouchers from the DOE's Office of Technology Transitions, totaling $9.8 million in funding, according to a release from the department.

The voucher program is in collaboration with the Offices of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED), Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM), and Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). It is funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“It takes a breadth of tools and expertise to bring an innovative technology from research and development to deployment,” Vanessa Z. Chan, DOE Chief Commercialization Officer and Director of the Office of Technology Transitions, says in a statement. “The Voucher Program will pair 111 clean energy solutions with the support they need from expert voucher providers to help usher new technologies to market.”

In addition to the funding, the program seeks to help small businesses and non-traditional organizations gain access to testing facilities and third-party expertise.

The vouchers come in five different opportunities that focus on different areas of business growth and support:

  • Voucher Opportunity 1 (VO1) - Pre-Demonstration Commercialization Support
  • Voucher Opportunity 2 (VO2) - Performance Validation, Modeling, and Certification Support
  • Voucher Opportunity 3 (VO3) - Clean Energy Demonstration Project Siting/Permitting Support
  • Voucher Opportunity 4 (VO4) - Commercialization Support (for companies with a functional technology prototype)
  • Voucher Opportunity 5 (VO5) - Commercialization Support (for developers, including for-profit firms, that are working to commercialize a prototype that fits a specific technology vertical of interest for DOE)

The 10 Houston-area companies to receive funding, their voucher type and projects include:

  • Terradote Inc. with Big Blue Technologies Inc. (VO2): Full ISO-Compliant Life Cycle Assessment for Clean Energy Technologies
  • Solugen Inc. and Encina with ACTion Battery Technologies L.L.C. and Frontline Waste Holding LLC (Vo2): Barracuda Virtual Reactor Simulation, Validation and Testing
  • Flow Safe with Concept Group LLC and Precision Fluid Control (VO2): Durability Testing of Hydrogen Components, Materials, and Storage Systems
  • Percheron Power LLC (VO4): Fundraising Support
  • Capwell Services Inc. with Banyu Carbon Inc. (VO5): Field Testing Support for Validation of Novel Resource Sustainability Technologies
  • Syzygy Plasmonics with Ample Carbon PBC, Terraform Industries, Lydian Labs Inc. and Vycarb Inc. (VO5): Rapid Life Cycle Assessment for Carbon Management or Resource Sustainability Technologies
  • Solidec Inc. with GreenFire Energy (VO5): LCA Calculator Tool for Carbon Management or Resource Sustainability Technologies
  • Encino Environmental Services LLC with Wood Cache, Completion Corp and Carbon Lockdown (VO5): Realtime Above/Underground Gas Monitoring Reporting and Verification, Including Cloud Connectivity for Remote Sites
  • Mati Carbon PBC with Ebb Carbon Inc. (VO5): Community Benefits Assessment and Environmental Justice

Other Texas-based companies to receive funding included Molecular Rebar Design LLC and Talus Renewables from Austin, Deep Anchor Solutions from College Station, and ACTion Battery Technologies LLC from Wichita Falls.

Last October, the DOE also awarded the Houston area more than $2 million for projects that improve energy efficiency and infrastructure in the region.

In December, its Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations also selected a Houston power company for a commercial-scale carbon capture and storage project cost-sharing agreement.

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