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Refining, Higher Oil Power Chevron's (CVX) Q3 Earnings Beat

U.S. energy giant Chevron Corp. CVX reported strong third-quarter results amid the recovery in commodity prices, production gains and robust refining profits. The company reported earnings per share of $1.03, higher than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 99 cents and the year-ago profit of 68 cents.

Quarterly revenue of $36,205 million surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $33,667 million and were up 20.1% year over year.

Chevron becomes the second integrated supermajor after ExxonMobil Corp. XOM in reporting third quarter numbers. European rivals Royal Dutch Shell plc RDS.A and BP plc BP are scheduled to report during the next week.

Segment Performance

Upstream: Chevron’s total production of crude oil and natural gas increased 8.1% compared with last year’s corresponding period to 2,717 thousand oil-equivalent barrels per day (MBOE/d). The U.S. output decreased 2.4% year over year to 681 MBOE/d but the company’s international operations (accounting for 75% of the total) was up 12.2% to 2,036 MBOE/d.

Apart from the core business in Gulf of Mexico, the rise in output could be attributed to contributions from major capital projects – Gorgon and Angola LNG – shale assets, as well as and lower downtime associated with maintenance activities.

The rise in production was supported by higher oil realizations, the result being a healthy improvement in Chevron’s upstream segment profit – from $454 million in the year-earlier quarter to $489 million.

Downstream: Chevron’s downstream segment achieved earnings of $1,814 million, a massive 70.3% higher than the profit of $1,065 million last year. The jump primarily underlined increase in domestic refining margins and gains from international asset sales.

Cash Flows

Importantly, Chevron delivered a good cash flow performance this quarter – an important gauge for the oil and gas industry – with $5,370 million in cash flow from operations, up from $5,311 million a year ago.

Costs & Expenses

Exploration costs fell from $258 million in the third quarter of 2016 to $239 million. The second-largest U.S. oil company by market value after ExxonMobil spent $4,456 million in capital expenditures during the quarter, a considerable decline from the $5,175 million incurred a year ago. Roughly 88% of the total outlays pertained to upstream projects.

Balance Sheet

As of Sep 30, the San Ramon, CA-based Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company had $6,641 million in cash and total debt of $41,972 million, with a debt-to-total capitalization ratio of about 22.2%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Share Performance

Shares of Chevron have gained 13.8% during the third quarter, outperforming the industry's 10.8% increase.

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