The FINANCIAL -- Chevron Corporation on May 1 reported earnings of $2.6 billion ($1.37 per share – diluted) for first quarter 2015, compared with $4.5 billion ($2.36 per share – diluted) in the 2014 first quarter. Foreign currency effects increased earnings in the 2015 quarter by $580 million, compared with a decrease of $79 million a year earlier.
Sales and other operating revenues in first quarter 2015 were $32 billion, compared to $51 billion in the year-ago period, according to Chevron.
“First quarter earnings declined from a year ago due to sharply lower oil prices, which reduced revenue and earnings in our upstream business,” said Chairman and CEO John Watson. “Downstream operations were strong, benefitting from lower feedstock costs and improved refinery reliability.”
“We’re responding to the current price environment by capturing cost reductions, pacing new project approvals and further streamlining our portfolio as planned. We’re taking a number of deliberate actions to lower our cost structure, and I expect these efforts to increasingly show through in our financial results as the year progresses.”
“Production increased over 3 percent in the period, and we are hitting major milestones on our development projects under construction, like Gorgon and Wheatstone in Australia,” Watson added. “We remain on track to deliver significant cash flow and production growth by 2017.”
Recent upstream milestones include:
•Australia – Achieved introduction of fuel gas and start-up of the first gas turbine generator at the Gorgon LNG plant.
•Australia – Completed installation of Wheatstone platform topsides.
•Australia – Announced a natural gas discovery, Isosceles-1, in the Carnarvon Basin in 50 percent-owned Block WA-392-P.
•Bangladesh – Achieved first liquids from the Bibiyana Expansion Liquid Recovery Unit.
•United States – Announced a joint venture to explore and appraise 24 jointly held offshore leases in the northwest portion of Keathley Canyon in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.
•United States – Ramped up oil-equivalent production at Jack/St. Malo in the deepwater Gulf
of Mexico to more than 70,000 barrels per day.
“In the downstream, we continued to streamline our asset portfolio with the sale of our interest in Caltex Australia Limited,” Watson commented. “This sale is aligned with our previously-announced asset sales commitment.” Cash proceeds of $3.6 billion were received upon settlement on April 2, and a gain on sale of $1.6 billion will be reflected in second quarter 2015 results.
Worldwide net oil-equivalent production was 2.68 million barrels per day in first quarter 2015, up from 2.59 million barrels per day in the 2014 first quarter. This production increase of over 3 percent came from project ramp-ups in the United States, Bangladesh and Argentina, along with production entitlement effects in several locations. Normal field declines and the effect of asset sales partially offset these effects.
U.S. upstream operations incurred a loss of $460 million in first quarter 2015 compared to earnings of $912 million from a year earlier, largely due to sharply lower crude oil realizations. Higher depreciation expenses, in part due to impairments, and lower natural gas realizations, were largely offset by higher crude oil production and lower operating expenses.
The company’s average sales price per barrel of crude oil and natural gas liquids was $43 in first quarter 2015, down from $91 a year ago. The average sales price of natural gas was $2.27 per thousand cubic feet, compared with $4.77 in last year’s first quarter.
Net oil-equivalent production of 699,000 barrels per day in first quarter 2015 was up 59,000 barrels per day, or 9 percent, from a year earlier. Production increased due to project ramp-ups in the Gulf of Mexico, the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico, and the Marcellus Shale in western Pennsylvania. The net liquids component of oil-equivalent production increased 12 percent in the 2015 first quarter to 489,000 barrels per day, while net natural gas production increased 4 percent in the 2015 first quarter to 1.26 billion cubic feet per day.
International upstream earnings of $2.02 billion decreased $1.38 billion from first quarter 2014. Sharply lower crude oil realizations were partially offset by lower tax items, including a reduction in statutory tax rates in the United Kingdom, higher gains on asset sales and lower operating expenses. Foreign currency effects increased earnings by $522 million in the 2015 quarter, compared with a decrease of $53 million a year earlier.
The average sales price for crude oil and natural gas liquids in first quarter 2015 was $46 per barrel, down from $99 a year earlier. The average price of natural gas was $5.01 per thousand cubic feet, compared with $6.02 in last year’s first quarter.
Net oil-equivalent production of 1.98 million barrels per day in first quarter 2015 was up 34,000 barrels per day, or 2 percent, from a year ago. Production increases from entitlement effects in several locations, project ramp-ups in Bangladesh and Argentina, and improved weather conditions were partially offset by normal field declines and the effect of asset sales. The net liquids component of oil-equivalent production increased 3 percent to 1.31 million barrels per day in the 2015 first quarter, while net natural gas production was essentially unchanged at 4.03 billion cubic feet per day.
U.S. downstream operations earned $706 million in first quarter 2015 compared with earnings of $422 million a year earlier. The increase was due to higher margins on refined product sales, partially offset by the absence of a 2014 gain on sale of an interest in a pipeline affiliate and lower earnings from the 50 percent-owned Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC.
Refinery crude oil input of 918,000 barrels per day in first quarter 2015 increased 46,000 barrels per day from the year-ago period. The increase was primarily due to lower 2015 downtime at refineries in Richmond and El Segundo, California.
Refined product sales of 1.21 million barrels per day were up 1 percent from first quarter 2014. Branded gasoline sales of 504,000 barrels per day were essentially flat with the 2014 period.
International downstream operations earned $717 million in first quarter 2015 compared with $288 million a year earlier. The increase was due to higher margins on refined product sales, partially offset by an unfavorable change in effects on derivative instruments. Foreign currency effects increased earnings by $54 million in the 2015 quarter, compared with a decrease of $28 million a year earlier.
Refinery crude oil input of 782,000 barrels per day in first quarter 2015 increased 8,000 barrels per day from the year-ago period. Increased crude runs due to the absence of 2014 planned downtime at the Star Petroleum Refining Company in Thailand were largely offset by the decrease due to the October 2014 conversion of an affiliate refinery into an import terminal in Kurnell, Australia.
Total refined product sales of 1.58 million barrels per day in the 2015 first quarter were up 177,000 barrels per day from the year-ago period, mainly due to higher gasoline and jet fuel sales.
All Other consists of worldwide cash management and debt financing activities, corporate administrative functions, insurance operations, real estate activities and technology companies.
Net charges in first quarter 2015 were $416 million, compared with $505 million in the year-ago period. The change between periods was mainly due to the absence of a 2014 impairment of a mining asset and lower environmental expenses, partially offset by higher corporate charges and higher corporate tax items.
CASH FLOW FROM OPERATIONS
Cash flow from operations in first quarter 2015 was $2.3 billion, compared with $8.4 billion in the corresponding 2014 period. Excluding working capital effects, cash flow from operations in first quarter 2015 was $4.3 billion, compared with $8.0 billion in 2014.
CAPITAL AND EXPLORATORY EXPENDITURES
Capital and exploratory expenditures in the first three months of 2015 were $8.6 billion, compared with $9.4 billion in the corresponding 2014 period. The amounts included $730 million in 2015 and $612 million in 2014 for the company’s share of expenditures by affiliates, which did not require cash outlays by the company. Expenditures for upstream represented 95 percent of the companywide total in the first three months of 2015.