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[BLOOMBERG] Exxon Mobil Corp extended its longest streak of profit declines in almost three decades as a prolonged slump in energy markets squeezed crude-oil exploration and refining.
Third-quarter net income was US$2.65 billion, or 63 cents a share, compared with US$4.24 billion, or US$1.01, a year earlier, the Irving, Texas-based driller said in a statement on Friday. The per-share results exceeded the 59-cent average of 20 estimates from analysts in a Bloomberg survey.
The year-on-year decline in quarterly profit was the eighth in a row, a pattern of dwindling returns Exxon hasn't posted since at least 1988. Brent crude, the international benchmark, averaged US$46.99 a barrel during the July-to-September period, down 8.4 per cent from a year earlier amid a worldwide supply glut. Refining margins in the US averaged less than US$14 a barrel during the quarter, 35 per cent lower than the year-earlier figure.
Exxon has been curbing outlays for drilling and new oil and gas installations to conserve cash for dividend payments that consumed US$9.2 billion during the first nine months of this year. Aside from cratering energy prices, the company has been parrying climate-science investigations in the US and was hit earlier this month with a US$74 billion fine in Chad for what the central African nation's high court said were underpaid royalties.
Exxon announced a billion-barrel discovery off the coast of Nigeria on Thursday, the company's second major offshore find in as many years. In May 2015, the explorer disclosed what it called a "world-class discovery" in Guyanese waters that Exxon later estimated may yield as much as 1.4 billion barrels.