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Chevron production heads for 8-year low as profit declines

JOE CARROLL

SAN RAMON, California (Bloomberg) -- Chevron is on track to post its lowest first quarter production in eight years after bad weather disrupted operations in Central Asia and North America.

Chevron by its market value also signaled that profit for the first three months of the year was the lowest since late 2010, according to a statement. Chevron, which is overseeing the $54 bn Gorgon natural gas export project in Australia, cited currency fluctuations and the falling value of some assets for the decline.

Chevron said it pumped the equivalent of 2.579 MMbpd during January and February. If output persisted at that pace through March, production for the full quarter would have been the lowest for that time of year since 2006.

Chevron is scheduled to disclose results for the entire three month period on May 2.

Before its statement, the company was expected to report full quarter output of 2.61 MMbbl, based on the average of three analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. That compares with 2.645 MMbbl in the first three months of 2013.

Chevron is accelerating oil exploration from Argentina to China to add reserves and revive output. Chairman and CEO John Watson is spending almost $40 bn this year to find, extract, transport and process oil and gas. Watson’s strategy also calls for auctioning off $10 bn in oilfields and other assets to hone the Chevron’s focus on the highest profit projects.

The statement was released after the close of regular trading in New York, where the shares fell 0.7% to $118.22.

Chevron declined 4.7% this year through the close, after advancing 16% in 2013. In March, Watson cut the company’s long-term production target by 6.1% to the equivalent of 3.1 MMbpd in 2017.

The company’s output fell for a third consecutive year in 2013, the longest streak of declines since the 2001-2004 period, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Exxon Mobil is the biggest energy company by market value, followed by Shell.

04/10/2014

 

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