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The Oil Industry Braces For An Ugly Earnings Season

COVID Market Update: M&A Is Back

With little to no notable activity on the oil deal scene since the oil price crash, Chevron’s offer to buy Noble Energy Inc. for $5 billion in stock made fairly big waves in the industry this week. While the deal was played down by some analysts, it makes Chevron the first oil major to get in on Israel’s Levant Basin gas opportunities, which are of significant geopolitical impact. Chevron will get Noble’s flagship Leviathan field in the offshore Levant Basin, as well as increased holdings in U.S. shale.

Earlier this week, big oil stocks got a healthy boost from positive COVID vaccine developments, marking the first time in history that oil stocks have been pinned to the healthcare industry. Stocks were also buoyed this week by the EU’s $2.1 trillion stimulus package.

That said, it’s also earnings season, with only Norway’s Equinor reporting this week and the major lineup of Austria’s OMV, Italy’s Eni, France’s Total Sa, Anglo-Dutch Shell, set for next week. ConocoPhillips will be on July 30th, followed by Exxon and Chevron a day later. The anticipated ugliness of the earnings reports could overshadow recent positive moves based on a COVID vaccine and stimulus. Equinor reported a Q2 drop in operating profit, as expected, but pulled in strong refinery and trading performances to the extent that it actually beat forecasts.

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