Chevron, the second-biggest US oil company, has posted a 43 per cent jump in quarterly profit, beating Wall Street forecasts as high oil prices and fat refinery margins offset a drop in its oil output.
Chevron's surging earnings were the latest in a string of huge profits reported this week by the industry that has benefited from the highest oil prices in nearly three years.
Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell both reported higher earnings this week, boosted by their acquisitions and shifts into new projects.
Chevron's better-than-expected profit was largely due to a strong performance by its U.S. and international refineries, which both topped forecasts, according to Fadel Gheit, analyst with Oppenheimer & Co.
Still, the oil and gas production business yielded nearly 90 per cent of the company's profits.
"This is the most leveraged company to oil price in the whole group," Gheit said.
Chevron's second-quarter profit rose to $7.7bn (£4.7bn), or $3.85 per share, from $5.4bn, or $2.70 per share, a year earlier.
That comfortably beat analysts' expectations for the company to post earnings of $3.56 per share.
Chevron reported 2.69m barrels per day (bpd) of oil-equivalent production, compared with 2.75m in the same period a year ago.
The company trimmed its full-year oil and gas production forecast to 2.76m bpd because of slower project ramp-up and a pipeline problem in Thailand.
But it stuck to its 2011-2014 average production growth target of one per cent and its 2014-2017 target of 4-5 per cent.
Chevron had targeted average 2011 output of 2.79m bpd, or one per cent growth, but that plan assumed lower oil prices. Higher crude prices mean Chevron must leave more production in the hands of its state-owned partners.
City A.M. Reporter