Exxon profits slide with natural gas prices weak

Exxon Mobil brought in $69 billion in revenue in the second quarter, down from last year’s $73.5 billion.

Some of the benefits of rising crude prices, up 22% this year, were offset by natural gas prices, which have fallen almost 24% in the same time frame.

The nation’s largest oil company said Friday that its profit fell 21 percent to $3.1 billion, or 73 cents per share, compared with last year’s $4 billion, but that’s still better than the per-share earnings of 66 cents that analysts were looking for, according to a survey by FactSet.

“We continue to make significant progress toward delivering our long-term growth plans,” said CEO Darren Woods in a prepared statement.

Oil production was 3.9 million barrels per day, up 7 percent from the same time last year. Exxon made key investments in the Permian Basin, spending $8.1 billion on capital and exploration overall, which was up 22 percent from last year. Permian production was up nearly 90 percent from the second quarter of last year.

Margins in the refining business improved, but remained near five-year lows, the company said. Planned maintenance at refineries remained high during the quarter, and results were also impacted by unscheduled downtime at refineries including the Baytown, Texas facility, where there was a fire in March.

Natural gas prices and industry product margins are challenged by short-term imbalances, the company said.