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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

Houston energy transition folks — here's what to know to start your week. Photo via Getty Images

Editor's note: Dive headfirst into the new week with three quick things to catch up on in Houston's energy transition: a podcast episode with a biotech leader, a very big oil and gas deal, and events not to miss.


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ConocoPhillips is buying Marathon Oil in an all-stock deal valued at approximately $17.1 billion as energy prices rise and big oil companies reap massive profits.

The deal to combine the two Houston-headquartered companies is valued at $22.5 billion when including $5.4 billion in debt.

Crude prices have jumped more than 12% this year and the cost for a barrel rose above $80 this week. Oil majors put up record profits after Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022 and while those numbers have slipped, there has been a surge in mergers between energy companies flush with cash. Continue reading.

Podcast to stream: Carlos Estrada, head of Venture Acceleration at BioWell, joins the Houston Innovators Podcast

Bioindustrial technologies have a high potential for impacting sustainability — but they tend to need a little bit more help navigating the startup valley of death. That's where the BioWell comes in.

Carlos Estrada, head of Venture Acceleration at BioWell, says the idea for the accelerator was came to First Bight Ventures, a Houston-based biomanufacturing investment firm, as it began building its portfolio of promising companies.

"While we were looking at various companies, we found ourselves finding different needs that these startups have," Estrada says on the Houston Innovators Podcast. "That's how the opportunity for the BioWell came about." Continue reading.

Events not to miss

Put these Houston-area energy-related events on your calendar.

  • The Energy Drone & Robotics Summit is coming to Houston June 10 to 12. Join for the ultimate event in the world for UAVs, Robotics & Data/AI, 3D Reality Capture, Geospatial and Digital Twins focused on the business and technology in energy & industrial operations, inspections, maintenance, surveying & mapping. Register now.
  • Argus Clean Ammonia North America Conference will take place on June 12 to 14 at the Hyatt Regency Houston. Over the three days of the conference, explore the big questions many producers are facing around where demand is coming from, expect to hear perspectives from key domestic consumers as well as international demand centres for clean ammonia. Register now.
  • Join the over 150 senior energy and utilities leaders from June 17 to 18 in Houston for AI in Energy to unlock the potential of AI within your enterprise and delve into key areas for its development.Register now.
  • Energy Underground (June) is a group of professionals in the Greater Houston area that are accelerating the Energy Transition that connect monthly at The Cannon - West Houston. Register now.

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