First quarter 2017 sees oil majors in the black by some margin.

Shell leads an upwards trend for oil majors in Q1 2017.

It would appear that an uplift in oil prices, combined with the drive to find operational efficiencies over the past couple of years when prices plummetted, is starting to pay off for the oil majors.

A massive 631% uplift from Q1 2016 has been reported by Shell, with an income attributable to shareholders of $3.54bn up from $484m. CCS earnings in Q1 2017 also improved by 351% from $814m to $3.38bn in the same period last year.

Shell CEO Ben van Beurden commented: “The first quarter 2017 was a strong quarter for Shell. Cash flow from operating activities of $9.5bn and free cash flow of $5.2bn enabled us to reduce debt, and cover our cash dividend for the third consecutive quarter. We saw notable improvements in Upstream and Chemicals, which benefitted from improved operational performance and better market conditions."

ExxonMobil's financial headlines were also positive; the company earning £4bn during the first quarter of 2017, up 122% from the same period last year ($1.8bn). Cash flow from operations and asset sales was $8.9bn, including proceeds associated with asset sales of $687m.

Company chairman and CEO Darren W. Woods said, “Our results reflect an increase in commodity prices and highlight our continued focus on controlling costs and operating efficiently. We continue to make strategic acquisitions, advance key initiatives and fund long-term growth projects across the value chain.”

BP reported enhanced figures with underlying replacement cost profits of $1.5bn for Q1 2017, up from $532m in the same period in 2016. They also revealed a profit of $1.45bn for the Quarter, making up for a $583m loss in the previous year.

In an update to its original financial report, ConocoPhillips reported a loss of $0.2bn in the first quarter of 2017 compared with an adjusted loss of $1.2bn, excluding special items in the same Quarter last year. Q1 2017 also showed positive earnings of $0.6bn compared with a loss of £1.5bn in 2016.

Meanwhile, Phillips 66 joined its sister company by delivering positive news of $535m in Q1 earnings, compared to $163m in the fourth quarter of 2016. First quarter earnings included the net benefit from consolidation of a petroleum coking venture. Adjusted earnings for the first quarter were $294m, an increase of $211m from the last quarter. The chairman and CEO Greg Garland says the company has successfully completed several major turnarounds in Refining and Chemicals.

French producer, Total joined the celebrations with adjusted net income of $2.6bn in Q1 2017, up 56% from the same period last year.  Operating cash flow was also up 26% on Q1 2016, to $4.7bn before working capital changes.  The company attributes the improved figures to "good operational performance and a steadily decreasing breakeven."

Also on the up was independent Fuchs, with sales revenue of €618m, an 12.4% improvement on the €550 declared in Q1 2016.  Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) were €94m in Q1 2017, up 10.8% on Q1 2016 (€85m). The Group's organic growth amounted to 9%, with all regions contributing - in particular Asia-Pacific and Africa.

Finally, Chevron brought in a net income of $2.7bn in Q1 this year, compared with a $725m loss in the part of 2016. Included in the figures was a gain of approximately $600m from the sale of an upstream asset, with Q1 2017 sales and other operating revenues topping $32bn, compared to $23bn in the same period last year. Chairman and CEO John Watson said, “We benefitted from increasing crude oil prices and ongoing efficiencies being implemented across the company."