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Exxon To Resume Share Buybacks After Surge In Q3 Earnings

ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) will start next year share repurchases of up to $10 billion after its quarterly profit surged to multi-year highs on the back of improved global energy demand and the oil and gas price rally.

The U.S. supermajor reported on Friday earnings of $6.8 billion, or $1.57 per share assuming dilution, for the third quarter of 2021, compared to a loss of $680 million, or a $0.15 per-share loss, for the same quarter of 2020.

Higher oil and gas prices, improved refining margins, and strong demand in chemicals helped Exxon book earnings in all three core businesses—upstream, downstream, and chemicals.

Excluding divestment and government mandates, Exxon’s oil-equivalent production rose by 4 percent in the third quarter, compared to the prior-year quarter, including growth in the Permian basin and Guyana.

In the upstream, average realizations for crude oil increased by 7 percent from the second quarter. Natural gas realizations jumped by 28 percent compared to Q2 2021.

Permian production in Q3 averaged around 500,000 oil-equivalent barrels per day, up by 30 percent from the third quarter of 2020. Exxon’s focus remains on continuing to grow free cash flow by lowering overall development costs and increasing recovery through efficiency gains and technology applications.

The supermajor has a strong cash flow outlook going forward, which will allow it to resume share repurchases after years of pausing them.

“We anticipate the company's strong cash flow outlook will enable us to further increase shareholder distributions by up to $10 billion through a share repurchase program over 12-24 months, beginning in 2022,” Exxon’s chairman and CEO Darren Woods said in a statement.

“Free cash flow more than covered the dividend and $4 billion of additional debt reduction. With the progress made in restoring the strength of our balance sheet, this week we announced a dividend increase maintaining 39 consecutive years of annual dividend growth,” Woods noted.

Also on Friday, the other U.S. oil and gas supermajor, Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX), reported its biggest quarterly profit since 2013 for the third quarter and its highest free cash flow on record, as oil and gas prices rallied and demand rebounded.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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