Production up, Chevron profits boom

Crude oil processing facilities in Kazakhstan from ChevronTexaco.

Chevron posted double-digit increases in revenues and profits on Friday, boosted by good news in most business sectors, including U.S. and international oil production.

Revenues rose $9 billion or 42 percent over the same quarter last year to $33.4 billion. Income swung to $2.7 billion in profits after the California company posted losses of $725 million in the first quarter of 2016. Earnings per share rose to $1.43 from losses of 39 cents.

Costs increased $5 billion or 20 percent to $30.3 billion, but were still far below pre-crash levels. Total oil and gas production rose from 2.67 million barrels per day last year to 2.68 million barrels per day this year, largely thanks to international — not U.S. — drilling.

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The company, based in San Ramon, posted $1.5 billion in upstream profits in the first quarter this year, compared with $1.5 billion in losses in the first quarter of last year. Downstream — Chevron refining, pipelines and chemicals — made $926 million this quarter, compared to $735 million in first quarter 2016.

“We benefitted from increasing crude oil prices and ongoing efficiencies being implemented across the company,” said Chairman and CEO John Watson.

Watson said operating expenses dropped 14 percent and capital spending 30 percent. At the same time, Chevron started up several new projects, continued to sell assets and boosted oil and gas production by 3 percent.

Chevron is on track to grow production between 4 percent and 9 percent this year, he said.