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Chevron shares retreat from a record after fourth-quarter profit falls short of expectations

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Journalists are reflected in the sunglasses of drilling site manager Greg Murphy during a media day at Chevron’s site in Pungesti, Romania, April 8, 2014.
Bogdan Cristel | Reuters

Chevron shares declined Friday after the company reported a mixed quarter, despite surging oil and gas prices.

Chevron earned $2.56 per share excluding items during the fourth quarter, while analysts had been expecting $3.12 per share, according to estimates from Refinitiv. Revenue, however, came in at $48.13 billion, topping the expected $45.69 billion.

Chevron’s stock declined roughly 3%, pulling back from the all-time high hit Thursday.

For the full year, Chevron said it saw record free cash flow of $21.1 billion, while reducing debt by $12.9 billion. The oil giant earned $15.6 billion for the year, compared to a loss of $5.5 billion in 2020.

On Wednesday, the company hiked its quarterly dividend by eight cents, or about 6%, to $1.42 per share. Chevron said in a statement that this is the 35th straight year that the company has increased its payout to shareholders.

The company’s cash flow from operations was $29.2 billion in 2021, more than double 2020’s $10.6 billion.

Chevron’s fourth-quarter results compare to a loss of one cent per share on an adjusted basis during the same quarter one year ago, and $25.25 billion in revenue. During the third quarter of 2021 the company earned $2.96 per share on an adjusted basis, with revenue coming in at $44.71 billion.

Chevron said worldwide net oil-equivalent production fell about 5% year over year during the fourth quarter to 3.12 million barrels per day. The company’s average sales price per barrel of crude oil and natural gas liquids in the U.S. almost doubled year over year, rising to $63 during the fourth quarter, up from $33 a year earlier.

Chevron’s average sales price for natural gas in the U.S. jumped to $4.78 per thousand cubic feet during the fourth quarter, up from $1.49 in the same quarter last year.

The results come as oil stages a blistering recovery from its pandemic-era lows.

This week international oil benchmark Brent crude topped $90 per barrel for the first time since October 2014. West Texas Intermediate crude futures, the U.S. oil benchmark, is also trading at its highest level in more than seven years after breaching $88.

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