By Sabrina Valle and Mrinalika Roy
HOUSTON (Reuters) -Chevron on Friday posted a third-quarter profit that missed Wall Street estimates by a wide margin, and its shares fell more than 5%.
Oil company earnings have slumped from record year-ago levels as crude prices eased and higher costs crimped refining and chemical profits.
Shares were down 5.4% at $145.71 in afternoon trading.
“It was a noisy quarter with non-cash charges due primarily to something we called timing effects,” Chief Financial Officer Pierre Breber said in an interview, citing oil and gas cargoes en route to customers that would be recognised in the future.
The company earned $6.5 billion, down from $11.2 billion in the same period last year. Adjusted profit was $3.05 a share, 19% below analysts’ estimates, according to LSEG data.
The earnings miss came after Chevron had warned in the second quarter that maintenance in its oil and gas production and refining businesses would hurt results.
It also suffered a setback in its more than $45 billion Kazakhstan project, resulting in a six-month delay and should now reach 1 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) in 2025.
Commissioning setbacks in adapting an infrastructure that dates to the Soviet era will add about 4% in costs and a six-month delay in expanding production at its Tengizchevroil (TCO) operation, which Breber called, “clearly disappointing news.”
The field conversion from high to low pressure is now set to start in the first half of 2024, and the future growth project in the first half of 2025, followed by a three month ramp-up.
Exxon and TotalEnergies also posted lower third-quarter results on weaker crude oil and refining profits, with Exxon’s profit down 54% and TotalEnergies’ off 35%.
Chevron agreed to buy U.S. rival Hess Corp for $53 billion in an all-stock deal that expands its shale and deepwater oil production and reserves. It also acquired U.S. shale oil and gas producer PDC Energy and a majority stake in ACES Delta, a U.S. hydrogen storage firm, in recent months.
Capital expenditures during the quarter rose more than 50% to $4.7 billion, partially due to the acquisitions.
Profit from pumping oil and gas fell about 38% to $5.76 billion in the quarter from a year ago. Cash flow from operations fell to $9.7 billion from $15.3 billion a year ago.
Overall, global output rose 4% to 3.15 million barrels of oil and gas per day on the PDC Energy deal, which increased the production of less-lucrative natural gas by 25%.
Refining profits fell 33% from a year ago to $1.68 billion, on sharply lower results outside the United States, where margins and inputs fell.
Production at TCO will be down about 50,000 barrels per day next year due to maintenance and equipment conversions, officials said. Chevron’s proceeds from the project over the next two years were revised down by about $2.5 billion.
Fourth-quarter results could suffer if a production halt at its Tamar gas field off the coast of Israel continues throughout the quarter. Operations there were stopped following the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on the country.
Chevron’s larger Leviathan gas field continues to be operational, with Breber declining to speculate about possible interruptions because of the Hamas-Israel conflict.
“It is a serious situation,” he said.
(Reporting by Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru and Gary McWilliams in Houston; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Mark Porter and Bill Berkrot)