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ExxonMobil reports 58% drop in profit

02 February 2016, 18:54

New York - ExxonMobil reported a 58 percent drop in fourth-quarter earnings as plunging oil prices dented results in the US oil giant's exploration and production business.

Earnings for the quarter came in at $2.8 billion as revenues fell 31.5 percent to $59.8 billion.

As with other petroleum companies, ExxonMobil saw a massive decline in income from exploration and production of crude oil, known as "upstream" in oil parlance. Earnings in this area fell to just $857 million from $4.6 billion in the year-ago period.

Those results were partially offset by better returns in "downstream," in which ExxonMobil processes crude oil into gasoline. Earnings for this business rose to $1.4 billion from $500 million in the fourth quarter of 2014.

ExxonMobil's earnings, though lower, remained in positive territory. Chevron on Friday reported a $588 million loss for the fourth quarter. BP Tuesday reported a sharp drop in fourth-quarter and a 2015 loss of $6.5 billion.

"While our financial results reflect the challenging environment, we remain focused on the business fundamentals, including project execution and effective cost management," said ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson in a statement.

ExxonMobil pledged to cut its 2016 capital budget to $23.2 billion, down 25 percent from the $31.1 billion spent in 2015, which itself was a reduction of 19 percent from the 2014 level.

For the year, ExxonMobil reported net income of $16.2 billion, about 50 percent below the 2014 profit.

ExxonMobil shares were down 3.0 percent to $74.01 in pre-market trade.

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