Exxon Mobil Corporation announced estimated first quarter 2016 earnings of $1.8 billion, or $0.43 per diluted share, compared with $4.9 billion a year earlier. The impacts of sharply lower commodity prices and weaker refining margins were partly offset by strong Chemical results.
“The organization continues to respond effectively to challenging industry conditions, capturing enhancements to operational performance and creating margin uplift despite low prices,” said Rex W. Tillerson, chairman and chief executive officer. “The scale and integrated nature of our cash flow provide competitive advantage and support consistent strategy execution.”
The corporation is making steady progress on its investment plans. New project capacity additions drove liquids production up 11.5 percent in the quarter, or 261,000 barrels per day. Total Upstream volumes increased to 4.3 million oil-equivalent barrels per day, while capital and exploration expenditures were reduced 33 percent to $5.1 billion.
Chemical earnings increased 38 percent to $1.4 billion on stronger margins and higher sales volumes. The business is capturing increased specialty and commodity product demand along with significant cost benefits from both gas and liquids cracking advantages at our integrated sites. The Downstream segment earned $906 million as global gasoline demand remains relatively strong.
During the quarter, the corporation distributed $3.1 billion in dividends to shareholders.
First Quarter Highlights
- Earnings of $1.8 billion decreased 63 percent from the first quarter of 2015.
- Earnings per share were $0.43 assuming dilution.
- Cash flow from operations and asset sales was $5 billion, including proceeds associated with asset sales of $177 million.
- Capital and exploration expenditures were $5.1 billion, down 33 percent from the first quarter of 2015.
- Oil equivalent production increased 1.8 percent from the first quarter of 2015, with liquids up 11.5 percent and gas down 9.3 percent.
- The corporation distributed $3.1 billion to shareholders in the first quarter of 2016.
- Dividends per share of $0.73 increased 5.8 percent compared with the first quarter of 2015.
First Quarter 2016 vs. First Quarter 2015
Upstream earnings declined $2.9 billion from the first quarter of 2015, to a loss of $76 million. Lower liquids and gas realizations decreased earnings by $2.6 billion. Sales mix effects decreased earnings by $100 million. All other items decreased earnings by $250 million, including lower gains on asset sales and less favorable tax items partly offset by lower expenses.
On an oil-equivalent basis, production increased 1.8 percent from the first quarter of 2015. Liquids production totaled 2.5 million barrels per day, up 261,000 barrels per day, while natural gas production was 10.7 billion cubic feet per day, down 1.1 billion cubic feet per day from 2015. Project ramp-up was partly offset by regulatory restrictions in the Netherlands, field decline and asset management impacts.
The U.S. Upstream operations recorded a loss of $832 million, compared to a loss of $52 million in the first quarter of 2015. Non-U.S. Upstream earnings were $756 million, down $2.2 billion from the prior year.
Downstream earnings were $906 million, down $761 million from the first quarter of 2015. Weaker margins decreased earnings by $860 million. Volume and mix effects increased earnings by $10 million. All other items, primarily favorable foreign exchange effects, increased earnings by $90 million. Petroleum product sales of 5.3 million barrels per day were 480,000 barrels per day lower than the prior year’s first quarter.
Earnings from the U.S. Downstream were $187 million, down $380 million from the first quarter of 2015. Non-U.S. Downstream earnings of $719 million were $381 million lower than last year.
Chemical earnings of $1.4 billion were $373 million higher than the first quarter of 2015. Improved margins increased earnings by $250 million. Favorable volume and mix effects increased earnings by $80 million. All other items, primarily lower expenses, increased earnings by $40 million. First quarter prime product sales of 6.2 million metric tons were 104,000 metric tons higher than last year's first quarter.
Corporate and financing expenses were $375 million for the first quarter of 2016, down $189 million from the first quarter of 2015 due to favorable tax items.
During the first quarter of 2016, Exxon Mobil Corporation purchased 9 million shares of its common stock for the treasury at a gross cost of $726 million. These shares were acquired to offset dilution in conjunction with the company’s benefit plans and programs. The corporation will continue to acquire shares to offset dilution in conjunction with its benefit plans and programs, but does not currently plan on making purchases to reduce shares outstanding.