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This Is Why Oil Firms Suffered Another Awful Earnings Season

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Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 15.00.46BKatie Fehrenbacher: JULY 29, 2016

Analysts expected the oil giants’ cost cutting to help more.

Many of the world’s biggest oil companies continue to feel the pain as low oil prices continue to undercut profits and lead to shuttered projects and layoffs.

Exxon, Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil, BP, and Chevron announced dismal earnings this week, missing expectations and showing how slashing spending and pulling back isn’t yet enough in a world where oil has dropped from a high of $115-per-barrel in 2014 to a low of $27-per-barrel in January of this year.

While it looked like oil prices were recovering slightly in June, they slipped back down over the past few weeks, continuing a decline that started to over two years ago. An oversupply of oil and refined products are depressing prices.

Exxon XOM -1.39% announced earnings Friday morning, surprising Wall Street by posting a lower-than-expected quarterly profit of $1.7 billion for the second quarter, or 41 cents per share. Analysts were expecting 64 cents per share.

The world’s largest oil company by market value had cut even cut its capital budget for the quarter by 38%, but it wasn’t enough. Shares of Exxon are trading down 3.32% to $87.21 per share.

Chevron CVX 0.68% continued on its “longest losing streak in more than a century,” surprising Wall Street with a loss of $1.47 billion, or 78 cents, for the quarter. Over the year, the company has cut drilling projects and cut a tenth of its workers.

But again, the cuts weren’t enough for the longstanding low price of oil. Chevron’s shares were down 1.35% in morning trading to $100.42 per share.

On Thursday, Shell announced a larger than 70% fall in its quarterly profit, below analyst estimates. That’s despite all of Shell’s cost cutting measures.

The company has planned to slash its capital investments for this year to $29 billion from $47 billion in 2014, as well as cut 12,500 jobs across 2015 and 2016.

Earlier in the week, Statoil said it lost $28 million in the second quarter, while analysts were expecting a profit of $294 million. The company cut its capital expenditure budget to $12 billion in 2016, from earlier guidance of $13 billion. That’s down from $20 billion in 2014.

Also on Tuesday, BP said its profits had sunk 44% for the quarter to $720 million. In addition to low oil prices, BP is still dealing with the Deepwater disaster, and the company took another $5.2 billion charge in the quarter related to the incident.

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