Mixed Q3 results for oil majors

Profits reported by BP and Shell amidst mixed figures for other oil majors. 

BP has turned around a $6.7bn loss in Q2 of 2020 to an underlying replacement cost profit of $100m in Q3. The company reports that this reflects "the absence of significant exploration write-offs, higher liquids realisations and improved marketing demand."

Like many other oil majors, BP is refocussing its investment strategy to concentrate on sustainability targets, entering the offshore wind sector, ultra-fast charging for EVs and forming a partnership with Microsoft to progress the two companies' sustainability aims. 

In its unaudited results Shell has also reported improved figures, with Q3 2020 income attributable to shareholders at $489m, recovering from an $18.1bn  loss of in the previous quarter. Looking back to the first nine months period of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, the company has reported a 219% drop in revenues.

The company states that this reflects "lower realised prices for oil and LNG as well as lower realised refining margins and production volumes compared with the third quarter 2019. This was partly offset by lower operating expenses, well write-offs, depreciation and strong marketing margins."

Reporting a $207m loss in Q3 2020 is Chevron. This is compared with earnings of $2.6bn in third quarter 2019. Michael K. Wirth, the company's board chairman and CEO said, “Third quarter results were down from a year ago, primarily due to lower commodity prices and margins resulting from the impact of COVID-19...The world’s economy continues to operate below prepandemic levels, impacting demand for our products which are closely linked to economic activity.”

Total has reported a 60% drop in income from $3.7bn in Q3 2019 down to $1.45bn in Q3 2020. The nine month figures for 2019/2020 show a fall of 57%. CEO Patrick Pouyanné described the circumstances as "exceptional with oil prices falling below $20bn and a very strong slowdown of global activity linked to the health crisis."

Meanwhile Fuchs generated sales revenues of €1,740 million in the first nine months of 2020, down 11% year on year. The company has reported a good third quarter 2020 in a difficult year attributing the emergent upward trend at the end of Q2 to "growth in China and a recovery in Europe and America". 

An improvement from Q2 to Q3 2020 has been reported by ExxonMobil, reducing its losses of $1.1bn to just $680m. However, once again the nine-month picture from 2019 to 2020 shows a marked downward trend, from $8.6bn positive earnings to a loss of $2.4bn.

Third quarter capital and exploration expenditures were $4.1bn, bringing year-to-date spending to $16.6bn, more than $6bn lower than the prior year period.

Following the trend for oil majors is Phillips 66 which has reported a third-quarter 2020 loss of $799m compared with a  $141m deficit in the second quarter of 2020. Describing the environment as "challenging", Greg Garland, chairman and CEO said, “Our Midstream, Chemicals and Marketing businesses benefited from improved market conditions, while Refining continued to be impacted by weak margins."