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ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) easily beat the consensus estimates as it reported on Friday record first-quarter earnings that were more than double compared to a year ago as higher oil and gas production offset lower commodity prices.
Exxon reported record first-quarter earnings of $11.4 billion, double from the $5.48 billion for the first quarter of 2022 and down from $12.75 billion for the fourth quarter of 2022. The per-share earnings of $2.79 for the first quarter of 2023 beat The Wall Street Journal consensus estimate of $2.60.
Exxon raised its oil and gas production in the first quarter, which helped it book record Q1 earnings despite declining energy commodity prices between January and March 2023.
Exxon’s oil and gas net production increased by nearly 300,000 oil-equivalent barrels per day compared to the first quarter of 2022, excluding divestments, entitlements, and the Sakhalin-1 expropriation in Russia.
Lower liquids and natural gas realizations and higher scheduled maintenance negatively impacted results sequentially. But these impacts were partially offset by higher volumes, mix improvements driven by advantaged project growth, strong operating execution, and disciplined cost management, Exxon said.
Cash flow from operations totaled $16.3 billion, up from $14.8 billion for Q1 2022. Free cash flow was $11.4 billion for the quarter, up from $10.8 billion a year ago and down from $12.3 billion for Q4.
Shareholder distributions totaled $8.1 billion for the first quarter, including $4.3 billion of share repurchases, keeping the company on track to repurchase up to $17.5 billion during the year.
Exxon, and other oil supermajors, have drawn criticism from the White House in recent months for shareholder distributions. In February, the Biden Administration slammed Exxon’s record annual earnings for 2022 as “outrageous.”
The other U.S. supermajor, Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX), also beat analyst expectations in its first-quarter earnings announced today, despite a drop in oil and gas prices. Chevron’s profits increased from a year ago and from the fourth quarter thanks to higher margins on refined product sales.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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