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updated: 11/2/2012 10:37 AM

Lower production, prices hurt Chevron 3Q profit

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Associated Press

SAN RAMON, Calif. -- Chevron Corp. said Friday its third-quarter net income fell 33 percent as production declined and it sold oil and gas at lower prices.

The nation's second-largest oil company said it earned $5.25 billion, or $2.69 per share, in the July-through-September quarter. That compared with net income of $7.83 billion, or $3.92 per share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue fell to $55.66 billion from $61.26 billion.

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The sluggish global economy has cut into worldwide demand for energy products, from gasoline and diesel to jet fuel. Concerns about economic growth have caused oil and natural gas prices to fall, hurting the bottom line for oil producers.

Exxon Mobil Corp., the nation's biggest oil company, on Thursday said net income fell 7 percent as production and prices fell. Improved refining results allowed it to beat Wall Street profit estimates, however. Chevron's refining business was hit by an August fire in Richmond, Calif.

Chevron, which is based in San Ramon, Calif., said disruptions to its Gulf of Mexico operations from Hurricane Isaac and planned maintenance at some international facilities curtailed productions. Also, its operations remain idle off the shore of Brazil pending investigations into two oil spills. Some of the loss was made up by increased production on other properties.

Chevron's net production totaled 2.52 million barrels per day worldwide, a decrease of 3 percent from a year ago. In the U.S., Chevron's production fell 4 percent to 637,000 barrels per day, partly because it sold Alaskan assets last year.

The company expects production to increase in the fourth quarter from the third quarter, reflecting completed maintenance and the restoration of Gulf operations.

Chevron sold oil and natural gas liquids for $91 per barrel in the U.S. during the quarter, compared with $97 per barrel a year ago. Natural gas prices averaged $2.63 per 1,000 cubic feet compared with $4.14 per 1,000 cubic feet a year ago.

Outside the U.S., the average price for oil and natural gas liquids was $98 per barrel, down from $103 per barrel a year ago. Natural gas sold for $6.03 per 1,000 cubic feet compared with $5.50 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Morningstar Inc. analyst Allen Good noted that Chevron's production of gasoline, diesel and other refined products was "particularly weak" because of the early August fire that shut down a crude unit at a Richmond, Calif., refinery. The loss of the unit lowered overall production at the refinery by about 118,000 barrels per day.

He described the results as "a bad quarter for Chevron."

Chevron shares fell $2.07, or 1.9 percent, to $109.39 in morning trading. In the past 52 weeks, the price has ranged from $92.29 to all-time high of $118.53 per share.

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