Chevron expects 4Q profit to beat 3Q

Increased oil and gas production along with some asset sales boosted Chevron Corp.’s fourth-quarter earnings well above the previous quarter, the oil giant said Thursday.

San Ramon, Calif.-based Chevron reported $5.3 billion in profit on $56 billion in revenue for the third quarter or 2012. It’s scheduled to release fourth-quarter results Feb. 1.

Chevron’s U.S. upstream business reported a production increase of 39,000 barrels per day during the first two months of the quarter.

Fourth-quarter production got a boost from some acquisitions in the Permian Basin of West Texas, as well as ramping back up of production shut in when Hurricane Isaac roared through the Gulf of Mexico in late August.

Chevron also reported a $1.4 billion gain from a swap with Royal Dutch Shell of stakes in natural gas fields off the coast of Australia.

Delays in planned maintenance in the United Kingdom and Kazakhstan led to an increase in international production of 107,000 barrels per day for the first two months of the quarter over the previous quarter, the company said.

The increase in production will be offset slightly by lower oil prices. Chevron sold its crude for an average $97.61 a barrel in the fourth quarter 2012, down from $105.37 in the fourth quarter 2011.

The company’s downstream business had a rougher final quarter, as its refinery volumes decreased by 77,000 barrels per day compared to the third quarter. This was largely due to the closure of its Richmond, Calif. refinery after Aug. 6 fire blamed on a diesel leak. The refinery is still closed.