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Chevron Net Income Up 18% on Strong Refining, Transport Business

Chevron's first-quarter earnings rose on a one-time gain from the sale of a refinery, the No. 2 U.S. oil company said.

Net income increased to $4.72 billion, or $2.18 a share, from $4 billion, or $1.80 a share, a year earlier.

The company's results in the quarter included a gain of $700 million, or 32 cents a share, from the sale of its 31% stake in the Nerefco Refinery in the Netherlands.

Excluding that item, Chevron's profit was $1.86 a share. Analysts were looking for earnings of $1.67 a share, according to Thomson Financial.

Revenue fell about 12% to $48.23 billion from $54.62 billion last year.

Chevron said profit at its oil and gas exploration company fell 16% to $2.91 billion.

But earnings from its refining, marketing and transportation businesses nearly tripled to $1.62 billion, including the $700 million benefit from the Nerefco sale, from $580 million last year.

Earnings at its chemicals unit dipped to $120 million from $153 million last year.

Oil prices dropped sharply at the beginning of the quarter as geopolitical tensions seemed to ease. But renewed friction between the United States and Iran, as well as concerns about gasoline supplies, have pushed prices back up.

The average price of U.S. crude was around $58 for the quarter -- down about $5, or 8%, from a year earlier.

Through Thursday, Chevron shares had risen 6.3% this year, narrowly outperforming the Chicago Board Options Exchange's oil index, which was up about 5.8%.

Chevron shares closed at $78.18 on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, just off their all time high of $78.93 hit earlier in the week.

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