Exxon Mobil’s profits plunged by half in the first quarter of the year due to weakness in its refining business and somewhat lower crude oil prices, the company said Friday.
The US oil giant reported net earnings of just under $2.4 billion, a stunning decline of 49.5 percent from the same period of last year, a far a bigger drop than analysts expected. Revenues fell to $63.5 billion, down 6.7 percent.
The company’s refining business lost $256 million in the quarter, compared with $2.7 billion in profits in the first three months of 2018, due in part to elevated US plant maintenance costs.
The drop came as US oil prices lingered in the $50-$55 a barrel range, down about $10 from a year ago. That resulted in lower earnings in upstream drilling and exploration despite higher oil and gas production in the downstream operations.
“Solid operating performance in the first quarter helped mitigate the impact of challenging Downstream and Chemical margin environments,” said Chief Executive Darren Woods.
Exxon’s share price fell 2.4 percent to $80.25 in pre-market trading.