Exxon signals strong Q3 earnings on natural gas pricing

Exxon Mobil business

Exxon Mobil has signaled strong third quarter operating profits on the heels of the prior quarter’s all-time high as earnings from natural gas offset weaker refining and chemicals, according to a securities filing.

The largest U.S. oil producer issued a snapshot of factors affecting its third quarter that showed results could land near the company’s $17.9 billion second quarter profit, Reuters news report said.

Exxon and rivals this year have posted sky-high earnings on rising energy prices and demand aided by cost-cutting. Gas prices, in particular, have soared this year on strong demand from Europe since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In the third quarter, U.S. natural gas prices averaged $7.95 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), up from $7.17 mmBtu in the second quarter. Brent prices eased to $98 per barrel in the same period, from an average of $109 between April and June. Exxon’s official results are due on Oct. 28.

In a breakdown of individual business units, Exxon indicated natural gas boosted operating results by about $2 billion, offsetting an about $1.6 billion decline in oil profits. Earnings from pumping oil and gas could reach about $13 billion.

Weak refining margins reduced profits from selling gasoline and diesel by about $2.6 billion, offset by lower maintenance costs and an additional business day during the quarter. Operating profit could fall to about $3.4 billion from $5.3 billion in the second quarter.

Chemical results will slip by about $300 million from the prior period’s $1.07 billion operating profit, and motor oil results will double to about $800 million, offsetting the chemicals drop.

Overall, operating profit would be about $17.8 billion. Exxon earned $17.9 billion, or $4.21 per share, an all time record, in the prior quarter.