| HOUSTON, April 28
HOUSTON, April 28 Rising crude prices helped
Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil Corp easily beat
Wall Street's profit expectations on Friday, a sign the oil
industry has regained its footing after a two-year price spiral.
While cost cuts and asset sales provided a boost to both
companies, the results highlighted the slowly improving dynamics
for the energy industry as oil prices have
climbed more than 50 percent since early 2016.
The results were especially strong at Exxon, where quarterly
profit more than doubled to $4.01 billion.
Chevron swung to a quarterly profit and turned cash flow
positive, earning more than it spent, a milestone Wall Street
had long sought.
Shares of Exxon rose 1 percent and shares of Chevron were up
Their energy peers, BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc
, are set to report quarterly results next week.
Looming over the large international oil companies, though,
is uncertainty over whether the Organization of the Petroleum
Exporting Countries will extend a production cut when it meets
next month in Vienna. Should the cut not be continued, oil
prices would likely drop, pushing the sector back into
Chevron and Exxon expanded production in their American
shale portfolios during the quarter, with both deciding that the
low-cost fields were an easy opportunity to boost
Chevron, the second largest leaseholder in the Permian
Basin, which is the largest American oilfield, has devoted much
of its 2017 capital budget to shale projects. Chief Executive
Officer John Watson told Reuters earlier this month the Permian
was vital to Chevron's growth.
Exxon doubled its acreage holdings in the Permian Basin of
West Texas earlier this year in a deal worth up to $6.6 billion.
It was the largest oil industry deal in the first quarter,
highlighting how important it was for Exxon to grow in the
In Asia, both companies expanded liquefied natural gas
operations. Chevron brought a third processing facility online
at its Gorgon LNG project in Australia, and Exxon bought
InterOil in a $2.5 billion bid to expand in Papua New Guinea.
Exxon also bought a 25 percent stake in a Mozambique gas
field last month in a deal worth up to $2.8 billion.
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)