Exxon Mobil three-monthly returns tear 58%

1US lubricant monster Exxon Mobil has aforementioned its nett prostrate 58% to $2.78bn ((£1.93bn) in the three months to the end of December, compared with $6.57bn for the same period a year earlier. It saw annual profits halve to $16.2bn, from $32.5bn in 2014.

Exxon Mobil’s results come after rivals Chevron and BP both reported large losses for the fourth quarter. Oil prices fell sharply on Tuesday, with Brent crude down 5.3% to $32.42. Crude oil prices have dropped about 70% from the 2014 high of more than $100 a barrel.

A period of adjustment

2Oil companies have been trying to cut costs and investments in new projects as they adjust to the sustained fall in prices. Exxon Mobil says its capital spending will be about $23.2bn in 2016, a cut of 25% compared with 2015.

Upstream earnings, which means exploration and production, slumped to $857m in the fourth quarter compared with $4.6bn during the same time last year.

Lower commodity prices in the upstream section of the business were partly offset by higher downstream earnings. Downstream earnings, which mean refined oil products, were $1.4bn, up $854m from the fourth quarter of 2014.

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