ChevronTexaco Profit Rises But Misses Forecasts

ChevronTexaco Corp. (CVX), the No. 2 U.S. oil company, on Friday reported a 62 percent rise in quarterly profit from record oil prices and gains from asset sales, but the results fell short of Wall Street forecasts.

In particular, the company felt the pinch from lower margins for refined products in the United States and disruptions from hurricanes that swept through the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean.

But record oil prices — which have shot up 60 percent this year — fueled results at exploration and production operations and higher margins boosted results at the international refining and marketing businesses.

Net income in the third quarter jumped to $3.2 billion, or $1.51 a share, from $2 billion, or $1.01 a share, in the year-earlier quarter.

But excluding gains of $486 million, or 23 cents a share, related to the sale of assets, profit was below Wall Street expectations of $1.36 a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

"It obviously was not a quarter you write home about," said Oppenheimer & Co. analyst Fadel Gheit, noting that the hurricane season hurt both production and refining operations.

Since the company's production figures appeared to be in line with estimates, however, the shortfall was probably from higher-than-expected costs, said Gene Gillespie, analyst at Howard, Weil, Labouisse, Friedrichs Inc.

ChevronTexaco, the last major U.S. integrated oil company to report results this quarter, said total revenues jumped to $40.72 billion from $30.84 billion a year earlier.

Earlier this week, Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and ConocoPhillips (COP), the largest and third-largest U.S. oil companies, both reported sharply higher profits riding the wave of higher oil prices, but also easily beat Wall Street forecasts.

Earlier in the day, U.S. independent oil and gas producer Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (APC) also reported higher quarterly profit that beat Wall Street estimates but concerns about output at a new Gulf of Mexico oilfield took away some of the shine.

At Chevron, worldwide oil and gas production declined about 6 percent from year earlier levels, largely because of properties sold as well as the effect of hurricanes and higher prices on production sharing contracts.

Damage from Hurricane Ivan (search) in September is expected to restrict production in the fourth quarter by about 50,000 to 60,000 barrels per day, the company said.

Capital spending in the quarter was up to $1.91 billion from $1.63 billion in the year-earlier quarter. On a conference call, the company said it is maintaining its capital spending forecast of $8.5 billion for the full year.

Shares were up 24 cents, or 0.5 percent, at $52.71 in early afternoon trading as crude prices stabilized after a recent fall.