Rallying oil and gas prices and the economic rebound in 2021 helped Chevron (NYSE: CVX) to book last year a record-high free cash flow and its best annual earnings since 2014.
Chevron reported on Friday full-year 2021 earnings of $15.6 billion, compared with a loss of $5.5 billion in 2020. The U.S. supermajor also booked strong cash flow from operations of $29.2 billion and record free cash flow of $21.1 billion last year.
Chevron’s net oil-equivalent production grew in 2021 to a record 3.10 million barrels per day (bpd). The company also added 1.3 billion barrels of net oil-equivalent proved reserves in 2021, with the largest net additions in reserves coming from assets in the Permian Basin, the Gulf of Mexico, and Australia.
Chevron’s U.S. upstream operations booked earnings of $7.319 billion for 2021, compared to a loss of $1.6 billion for 2020. The international upstream business earned $8.499 billion last year, compared to a loss of $825 million in 2020. Downstream operations also yielded earnings in 2021, with the U.S. downstream business earning $2.389 billion versus a loss of $571 million in 2020.
“We’re more capital and cost efficient, enabling us to return more cash to shareholders,” Mike Wirth, Chevron’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.
Earlier this week, Chevron raised its quarterly dividend by around 6 percent, putting it on track to make 2022 the 35th consecutive year with an increase in annual dividend payout per share.
Chevron’s stock rallied on Thursday to an all-time high of $136, but fell by 4 percent pre-market on Friday following the results release, which showed fourth quarter 2021 earnings below analyst estimates.
For the fourth quarter, Chevron booked adjusted earnings of $4.9 billion, or $2.56 per share, significantly higher than the adjusted earnings of $298 million, or $0.16 per share, for the fourth quarter 2020.
Still, the Q4 2021 earnings per share fell well short of analyst expectations. The analyst consensus of the Wall Street Journal expected Chevron to post $3.12 per share earnings.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.