Big Oil's most profitable quarter ever: $51.5 billion

ByABC News
August 2, 2008, 11:28 PM

HOUSTON -- Chevron and Total wrapped up a string of gargantuan, record-breaking earnings reports from oil companies on Friday, a stretch in which six of the major international oil companies topped $50 billion in combined profit for the first time.

While the profits of unparalleled size have brought withering criticism from Washington and disgust from consumers across the country, very few were surprised. Crude prices during the second quarter were nearly double what they were a year ago.

The San Ramon, Calif.-based company said net income for the three months ended June 30 amounted to $2.90 a share, versus income of $5.38 billion, or $2.52 a share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose significantly to $82.9 billion from $56.1 billion a year ago.

But results for the second-largest U.S. oil company missed Wall Street forecasts and shares fell slightly in afternoon trading. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected a profit of $3.03 per share on revenue of $92.41 billion.

Like its competitors, Chevron made the bulk of its money at its exploration and production arm, also known as the upstream, where income nearly doubled from a year ago to $7.25 billion.

Chevron said the average sales price for crude and natural gas liquids was $109 a barrel in the quarter, up from $57 a barrel in the year-earlier period.

In addition to Chevron, soaring commodity prices led to record quarters for ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, BP and Royal Dutch Shell.

ExxonMobil stood apart even from this crowd, logging the largest ever quarterly operating profit for a U.S. company. Barring companies that made huge profits on one-time gains like bankruptcy settlements and spinoffs, ExxonMobil holds the top 10 records for biggest U.S. quarterly earnings.

French energy company Total said Friday its profit climbed 38.7% in the second quarter to $7.38 billion. Quarterly sales rose 23% to $75.25 billion.