File Picture: REUTERS/ LUCAS JACKSON
File Picture: REUTERS/ LUCAS JACKSON

Houston — ExxonMobil fell short of profit and production expectations, underscoring the need for the world’s largest oil major to ramp up projects that won’t deliver until the early 2020s.

Exxon produced the equivalent of 3.6-million barrels of oil in the second quarter, the lowest in almost a decade and well short of the 3.83-million expected by analysts, the Texas-based company said in a statement Friday.

Maintenance and repairs at undisclosed oil fields more than offset output gains from US shale and offshore Canadian assets, the company said.

Investors punished Exxon, taking the shares down 3.3% at 8.12am in New York. Lagging production meant Exxon failed to fully capitalise on a Brent crude price that was almost 50% higher than a year earlier. Net income of $3.95bn lagged the $5.35bn average forecast from analysts.

Big Oil’s profits have rebounded to levels last seen before the 2014-16 crash, leading them to consider share buybacks to reward long-suffering investors. Not so with Exxon, which is prioritising big project investment to recover from missteps into Canadian oil sands, Russia and US shale gas over the past decade.

Long an industry leader in returns and stock-market valuation, Exxon has slipped in recent years as costly mistakes over the past decade came to the fore. The major investments in Canada, Russia, and US shale gas while former CEO Rex Tillerson was in charge haven’t lived up to expectations.

Bloomberg