Archive for October, 2010

Nigeria: Italian firm acknowledged oil line attack

Friday, October 29th, 2010 | Finance News


YENAGOA, Nigeria – Italian oil firm Eni SpA says a pipeline carrying some of its crude out of Nigeria's oil-rich southern delta has erupted after an "act of sabotage."

The oil firm says the pipeline attack, which occurred either Thursday night or Friday morning, has cut production by 4,000 barrels of oil a day. Of those barrels, Eni says 800 each day are their share. It could not be immediately confirmed whose supplies were also affected.

Eni says it has not declared any shipment warnings because of the "minor amount of production involved."

Militants in the Niger Delta began a campaign of kidnapping and pipeline bombings in 2006, upset over pollution and the region's endemic poverty despite 50 years of oil production.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

EKET, Nigeria (AP) — A Nigerian policeman says an Indian expatriate who leads an Exxon Mobil-supported school in the oil-rich Niger Delta has been released by her kidnappers.

Akwa Ibom state police commissioner Walter Rugbere says officers recovered Lakshmi Tombush on Thursday night from a house in Eket, the same city where the U.S. oil company has its base of operations. Rugbere said Friday that Tombush was in good health.

Rugbere says police also found the kidnapped wife of a former military governor at the same time. The commissioner says no arrests have been made.

The number of violent kidnappings targeting middle-class Nigerians in the region has skyrocketed this year.


Chevron 3Q profit slips 2 pct

Friday, October 29th, 2010 | Finance News


NEW YORK – Chevron Corp. said Friday income slipped nearly 2 percent in the third quarter on costs related to the Gulf of Mexico drilling moratorium and hefty foreign exchange charges.

Chevron, America's second-largest oil company, reported earnings of $3.77 billion, or $1.87 per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30. That compares with $3.83 billion, or $1.92 per share, in the year-ago period. Revenue increased 7 percent to $49.7 billion.

Analysts expected earnings of $2.15 per share on revenue of $49.5 billion.

Chevron benefited from higher oil and gas prices and better profit margins in its refining business, but it also booked $367 million in foreign-currency expenses. Chevron's exploration and production operations in the U.S. were more costly due to the U.S. ban on deepwater drilling following the BP oil spill.

John Watson, Chevron chairman and CEO, said he's pleased the government has since lifted the moratorium that stunted offshore activity in the Gulf. Chevron already has submitted one application for a deepwater drilling permit, and it plans to submit several others over the next few months, he said.

"We look forward to the timely approval of our drilling permits and to getting back to work as soon as possible," Watson said in a statement.

Chevron's results lag other industry giants. Exxon Mobil Corp. and ConocoPhillips all posted big profit increases in the third quarter, boosted by higher oil and gas prices, increased production and better refining margins. Higher energy prices helped Royal Dutch Shell increase earnings even though it booked more than $1 billion in asset write-downs.

Chevron oil and gas production was flat in the quarter, though prices increased year-over-year. In the U.S., Chevron sold oil and natural gas liquids for $69 per barrel in the July-September quarter, up from $60 per barrel in the same part of 2009. Internationally, oil and natural gas sold for $70 per barrel, up from $62 a barrel a year earlier.

Its refining business more than doubled profits in the quarter to $565 million on better margins.

Shares fell $1.58 to $82.86 in premarket trading.


Chevron Q3 profit dips, lags forecasts

Friday, October 29th, 2010 | Finance News

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Chevron Corp (CVX.N), the second-largest U.S. oil company, posted weaker-than-expected quarterly profit on Friday, hurt by lower production and higher expenses in the United States.

Third-quarter net income fell to $3.77 billion, or $1.87 per share, from $3.83 billion, or 1.92 per share, a year before, when the company's earnings were boosted by asset sales.

Analysts had expected a profit of $2.15 per share, according to the average on Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 7 percent to $49.72 billion.

Chevron shares slipped 1.4 percent in premarket trade to $83.20.

On Thursday, larger rivals Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) and Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L) both posted profits that were higher than analysts' expectations.

Chevron's global output in the quarter rose 1 percent to 2.74 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day, largely due to increases in Thailand and Brazil, but its U.S. production fell 7 percent, or 53,000 boe per day, to 692,000 boe per day.

The company said that U.S. output drop was due to "normal field declines" and downtime for maintenance and repairs.

Costs in the United States were higher because of the deepwater drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico following BP Plc's (BP.L) blowout that caused the country's worst-ever marine oil spill.

Profit from the company's downstream arm, which includes its refineries, more than doubled to $565 million in the quarter.

At about $76.50 a barrel, benchmark U.S. oil prices averaged more than 12 percent higher than in the same quarter last year, but they were down from $78 in the second quarter.

Chevron shares are up 10 percent so far this year, while the Chicago Board Options Exchange's oil company index (.OIX) -- which includes BP's battered shares -- are down 1 percent in 2010.

Chevron, based in San Ramon, California, had said earlier this month it would resume quarterly share buybacks of up to $1 billion after a pause of nearly two years.

(Reporting by Matt Daily, additional reporting by Braden Reddall in San Francisco, editing bHy Dave Zimmerman)