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Exxon signals strong Q4 profit to drive annual record

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Exxon Mobil Corp on Wednesday signaled another strong operational profit of about $15.4 billion in its fourth quarter, pushing it toward a record profit for all of 2022.

The largest U.S. oil producer indicated in a securities filing a cooling from its massive profits from the prior quarters. But preliminary operational results confirmed 2022 was Exxon’s best financial year with profits of around $58 billion.

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Formal earnings are due on Jan. 31.

Operational results from pumping oil and gas, its largest business, retreated about $2.3 billion due to lower energy prices from the record $12.4 billion the upstream business delivered in the third quarter.

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The gasoline and diesel business delivered about a $4.9 billion of profit in the quarter as fuel prices eased from summer highs. Chemical profits decreased to about $300 million, while motor oils profits were unchanged at about $800 million.

The about $15.4 billion in operating profits excluding impairments indicates annual results will far exceed the record $45 billion Exxon posted in 2008, when oil prices peaked at $142 per barrel. The company posted back to back record profits in the second and third quarters last year.

High international oil and natural gas prices last year generated record earnings among all oil majors. Exxon benefited the most after doubling down on oil during the pandemic as European rivals shifted to renewable energy projects. Its shares jumped 80% in 2022, outrunning rivals.

Sky-high oil prices that fueled gains for most of the year eased in the final quarter. Brent futures closed 2022 at $77.17 a barrel, after hitting nearly $140 a barrel in March.

Global gas markets, on the other hand, ended 2022 with strong gains. U.S. gas futures jumped by more than 20%. (Reporting by Sabrina Valle in Houston and Ankit Kumar and Arunima Kumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Bradley Perrett and Chris Reese)

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