ExxonMobil returns to growth after long slump
US energy company ExxonMobil said April 30 that higher commodity prices and cost reductions helped it return to growth in the first quarter.
After four consecutive quarters in the red, ExxonMobil announced Q1 earnings of $2.7bn, compared with a $610mn loss during the same period last year. Spending was $3.1bn, $4bn lower than Q1 2020. Cash flow, meanwhile, was $9.3bn, driving debt reduction of more than $4bn.
“The strong first quarter results reflect the benefits of higher commodity prices and our focus on structural cost reductions, while prioritising investments in assets with a low cost of supply,” CEO Darren Woods said. Spending for the year is planned at between $16bn and $19bn.
Along with other companies with a large operational footprint in the US, the company said the blast of sub-freezing temperatures in February took a $600mn toll on all of its business segments. Anglo-Dutch major Shell for instance recorded a $200mn hit as a consequence of the storm.
ExxonMobil recorded an average oil-equivalent production of 3.8mn b/d during the first quarter, a 3% improvement over Q4. In the Permian shale basin in the US south, production improved 12% y/y to average 394,000 boe/d.
Apart from conventional activity, Woods said his company made strides on its energy transition strategy by advancing the development of large-scale carbon, capture and storage (CCS) concepts, including strategies in and around the Houston Ship Channel.
“As the global leader in carbon capture, we are seeing growing public and private sector support for CCS as a critical enabling technology to reduce emissions and help meet society's net-zero ambitions,” the CEO said.
The company believes the US could establish a “CCS Innovation Zone” along the Houston Ship Channel and its surrounding industrial areas, potentially to capture all of the CO2 emissions from the petrochemical, manufacturing and power generation facilities there. The CO2 would then be piped into geological formations along the Gulf Coast.