Exxon stock falls as earnings miss on lower natural gas prices and squeezed refining margins

An Exxon gas station is seen on October 06, 2023 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images

Exxon Mobil on Friday reported first-quarter earnings that missed expectations as the industry came under pressure from eroding refining margins and collapsing natural gas prices.

Exxon’s stock was down less than 1% in early trading.

Here is what Exxon reported for the first quarter compared with what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by LSEG: 

  • Earnings per share: $2.06 vs. $2.20 expected
  • Revenue: $83.08 billion vs. $78.35 billion expected.

The nation’s largest oil company reported net income of $8.22 billion, or $2.06 per share, a 28% decrease from earnings of $11.43 billion, or $2.79 per share, in the same period a year ago.

Oil is up more than 16% this year and gasoline futures have surged nearly 32%, but the rally has done little to lift the Exxon’s fortunes due to headwinds elsewhere in the industry. Natural gas prices have plummeted 37% this year, and refining margins are lower than they were a year ago. Chevron faced similar issues this quarter.

Revenue beat expectations, coming in at $83.08 billion, but was lower than a year ago, when the company reported $86.56 billion.

Exxon’s fuel business saw earnings plummet 67% to $1.38 billion, compared with $4.18 billion in the prior year, due to lower refining margins.

The company’s chemical products segment saw profits more than double to $785 million compared with $371 million in the same quarter last year.

Exxon is currently locked in a dispute with Chevron over the latter’s pending acquisition of Hess Corp. Exxon has taken Chevron to arbitration court to defend rights the company claims to Hess’ assets in Guyana under a joint operating agreement.

Chevron said Friday that it expects the Hess deal to close in 2024.

Read Exxon’s full earning release here.

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