Exxon Mobil Corporation on Friday announced estimated 2018 earnings of $20.8 billion, or $4.88 per share assuming dilution, compared with $19.7 billion a year earlier. Excluding U.S. tax reform and asset impairments, earnings were $21 billion, compared with $15.3 billion in 2017. Cash flow from operations and asset sales was $40.1 billion, including proceeds associated with asset sales of $4.1 billion. Capital and exploration expenditures were $25.9 billion, including incremental spend to accelerate value capture.
Fourth quarter 2018 earnings were $6 billion, or $1.41 per share assuming dilution, compared with $8.4 billion in the prior-year quarter. Earnings excluding U.S. tax reform and impairments were $6.4 billion, compared with $3.7 billion in the prior-year quarter.
“Strong results during a period of commodity price volatility demonstrate ExxonMobil’s ability to deliver superior cash flow in different market environments,” said Darren W. Woods, chairman and chief executive officer.
“Our continued focus on long-term fundamentals and portfolio improvements position us well to grow shareholder value. ExxonMobil’s 2018 results further demonstrate our advantages in technology, scale and integration, providing a strong foundation to successfully compete across commodity price cycles.”
Fourth Quarter 2018 Business Highlights
Crude prices weakened in the fourth quarter, while natural gas prices strengthened with higher LNG prices and increased seasonal demand.
Natural gas volumes were supported by stronger seasonal gas demand in Europe.
Permian unconventional production continued to ramp up in the fourth quarter, with production up more than 90 percent from the same period last year.
Industry fuels margins weakened during the quarter due to lower seasonal gasoline demand and increased supply.
The company captured benefits from North American crude differentials with its integrated logistics and manufacturing capabilities.
Overall reliability remained strong during a quarter with higher levels of scheduled maintenance activity.
Chemical margins weakened during the quarter with lengthening supply from recent capacity additions.
Sales growth from investments resulted in the highest annual volumes in over ten years.
Turnaround activities were completed at the Singapore chemical plant during the fourth quarter.
Strengthening the Portfolio
ExxonMobil made its tenth discovery offshore Guyana and increased its estimate of the discovered recoverable resource for the Stabroek Block to more than 5 billion oil-equivalent barrels.
ExxonMobil subsidiary Esso Italiana completed its sale of the Augusta refinery, three fuel terminals in Augusta, Palermo and Naples, and associated pipelines to Sonatrach Raffineria Italiana S.r.l.
ExxonMobil will continue to serve the Italian market, where it has operated for more than 125 years, with high-performance products, including Esso fuels and Mobil lubricants.
The company generated full-year cash proceeds from asset sales of $4.1 billion, slightly above the previous 5-year average of $3.3 billion.
Investing for Growth
ExxonMobil made a final investment decision to develop the West Barracouta gas field in Bass Strait to bring new gas supplies to the Australian domestic market.
The project, located in the VIC/L1 Block offshore Victoria, is part of the company’s continuing investment in the Gippsland Basin and will be tied back to the existing Barracouta infrastructure offshore in Bass Strait.
Mozambique Area 4 co-venture participants, including ExxonMobil, secured liquefied natural gas (LNG) offtake commitments from the partners’ affiliated buyer entities, a key milestone enabling a rapid move toward a final investment decision in 2019 on the first phase of the Rovuma LNG project.
Those commitments are subject to the conclusion of fully-termed agreements and the approval of the government of Mozambique.
The company commenced operations of a new coker unit at its Antwerp refinery in Belgium to convert heavy, higher-sulfur residual oils into high-value transportation fuels such as marine gasoil and diesel.
The new 50,000 barrel-per-day unit expands the refinery’s capacity to meet demand for cleaner transportation fuels throughout northwest Europe.
The company’s investment in the new coker will also help meet anticipated demand for lower-sulfur fuel oil to comply with new standards to be implemented by the International Maritime Organization in 2020.
Advancing Innovative Technologies and Products
ExxonMobil started up its advanced hydrocracker expansion project at the Rotterdam refinery in the Netherlands. The new unit uses proprietary catalyst in a unique refining configuration to upgrade lower-value vacuum gas oil into higher value EHC™ Group II base stocks and ultra-low sulfur diesel.
ExxonMobil has signed a partnership agreement with IBM to advance the potential use of quantum computing in developing next-generation energy and manufacturing technologies.
As part of the agreement, ExxonMobil becomes the first energy company to join the IBM Q Network, a worldwide community of Fortune 500 companies, startups, academic institutions and national research labs working to advance quantum computing and explore practical applications for science and business.
Twelve Months 2018 Financial Updates
During 2018, Exxon Mobil Corporation purchased 5 million shares of its common stock for the treasury at a gross cost of $425 million.
These shares were acquired to offset dilution in conjunction with the company’s benefit plans and programs.