Chevron posts $6.6 billion loss in the fourth quarter

Key Points
  • Chevron said the loss was driven by $10.4 billion in write-offs related to its shale gas production, primarily in Appalachia.
  • The company said it earned $1.49 per share excluding items, down from $1.95 per share a year earlier.
  • 2019's total earnings slid 80%, to $2.924 billion compared with $14.824 billion in 2018.
Chevron earnings: $1.49 per share, vs $1.45 EPS expected

Chevron on Friday posted a $6.6 billion loss in the fourth quarter due to $10.4 billion worth of write-offs related to shale gas production in Appalachia and deep-water projects in the Gulf of Mexico. In December, the company warned that this charge would be $10 billion to $11 billion.

Shares slid 3.85% on Friday after the company reported $36.35 billion in revenue for the period, which missed analyst expectations and was down 14% year over year, hurt by weakness in the company's upstream division.

Chevron said it earned $1.49 per share excluding items, down from $1.95 per share a year earlier.

Here's how the energy giant's results fared on an adjusted basis relative to Wall Street expectations:

  • Adjusted earnings: $1.49 cents per share vs. $1.45 expected by a Refinitiv survey of analysts
  • Revenue: $36.35 billion vs. $38.639 billion expected by Refinitiv

A year earlier, the company earned $3.7 billion. Total earnings for 2019 slid 80%, to $2.924 billion, compared with $14.824 billion in 2018.

Oil-equivalent production at 3.08 million barrels per day was unchanged year over year, although the company said its annual daily production exceeded 3 million barrels per day for the first time.

The company's upstream operations in the U.S. lost $7.5 billion in the quarter, down from earnings of $964 million a year earlier. That was primarily due to $8.2 billion in write-offs related to Appalachia and Gulf of Mexico operations, as well as lower crude and natural gas prices.

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Chevron said the average sale price per barrel of oil and natural gas liquids was $47, a 16% decrease from 2018.

"Cash flow from operations remained strong in 2019, allowing the company to deliver on all our financial priorities, "Chairman and CEO Michael Wirth said in a statement. "We paid $9 billion in dividends, repurchased $4 billion of shares, funded our capital program and successfully captured several inorganic investment opportunities, all while reducing debt by more than $7 billion. Earlier this week, we announced a quarterly dividend increase of $0.10 per share, reinforcing our commitment to growing shareholder returns."

In the same quarter a year earlier the company reported EPS of $1.95 and revenue of $42.35 billion. Last quarter, the company earned $1.36 per share, and brought in $36.12 billion in revenue.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude prices are down more than 15% this month, while international benchmark Brent crude has shed roughly 12%.