Chevron reported a massive $6.6 billion loss in the fourth quarter after $10.4 billion in write-offs in North America because of continuously weak natural gas prices.
Minus the huge impairment charges, Chevron’s quarterly earnings would have fallen in line with its $3.7 billion quarterly profit at the end of 2018.
For the full year, Chevron’s $2.9 billion in earnings were off more than 80 percent from $14.8 billion in 2018.
Still, Chevron Chief Executive Michael Wirth touted the company’s strong cash flow, increasing dividend payouts and declining debt.
Chevron is focusing on boosting oil production in West Texas’ Permian Basin and its big Tengiz field in Kazakhstan.
“For the first time in the company’s history, annual production exceeded 3 million barrels per day of oil equivalent,” Wirth said, although its 3.1 million barrels a day in the fourth quarter were flat from last year.
Chevron’s production from Permian shale plays was 514,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the fourth quarter, up 36 percent from a year ago.
As for the write-offs that Chevron first announced in December, $8.2 billion comes from poor natural gas prices in the Appalachia region as well as cost overruns and delays from its Big Foot project in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The remaining $2.2 billion comes from its decision to stop investing in the Kitimat liquefied natural gas project in Canada.
Chevron’s final capital budget in 2019 came in at $21 billion – half of which was spent in the United States – up a bit from $20.1 billion in 2018.
Chevron’s fourth-quarter revenues were $36.4 billion, down 14 percent from $42.4 billion the year prior.
This article first appeared on the Houston Chronicle – an Energy Voice content partner. For more from the Houston Chronicle click here.