Chevron Sees Higher Profit, Yet Revenue Slides

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Falling oil prices and lower refinery input partly undermined Chevron's first quarter results, the energy giant said on Friday, as profit beat Wall Street's expectations but revenue suffered.

Chevron posted quarterly earnings excluding items of $3.18 per share, versus $3.27 a share in the year-earlier quarter, with basic earnings per share checking in at $3.20. Revenue, however, fell to $56.82 billion from $60.71 billion a year ago, hurt by volatile crude prices and refinery troubles in California.

Analysts had expected Chevron to report earnings of $3.05 per share on $67.73 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

Oil production during the quarter came in around 2.65 million barrels of oil per day, which was marginally higher than the comparable year-ago quarter performance at 2.63 million barrels.

Chevron's earnings from refining and marketing, however, plunged by 350,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 576,000 bpd, due largely to a refinery shutdown in California, according to Chevron. Meanwhile, the company made less money from the production of oil and gas, which came in at $1.13 billion.

In a statement, Chevron chairman and CEO John Watson described first quarter earnings as "strong" in spite of the drop in revenues. The company also approved an 11.1 percent hike in its quarterly dividend.

"Our consistent financial performance has enabled us to significantly increase the dividend again, and fund major development projects that are the foundation of the company's future growth in production, earnings and cash flows," he added.

A day earlier, Exxon Mobil also reported higher profit on slightly disappointing revenue—underscoring how major oil companies are having to grapple with an unpredictable global oil market that has whipsawed the price of crude.

Immediately after the earnings announcement, the second largest U.S. oil producer saw its shares dip modestly before gaining in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange. (Click here to track the market reaction to Chevron's earnings.)