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Chevron profits jump 36% as oil prices surge

By Reuters
Friday, April 29, 2011 10:54 EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Chevron Corp (NYSE:CVX – News), the second-largest U.S. oil company, reported a 36 percent jump in quarterly earnings as oil prices surged and refining profits improved along with the global economy.

Oil companies have seen their earnings boosted by the jump in global oil prices above $100 per barrel in the first quarter because of growing global energy demand and unrest in the Middle East and North Africa.

Chevron’s first-quarter profit rose to $6.2 billion, or $3.09 per share, from $4.6 billion, or $2.27 per share, a year earlier.

That topped analysts’ average estimate of $3.00 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 23 percent to $58 billion.

Oil and gas output slipped nearly 1 percent to 2.76 million barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Still, earnings from the upstream, or production arm, jumped to $5.98 billion in the quarter on strong energy prices.

Chevron also benefited from strong demand for products such as gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel, which helped lift profits at its refineries more than threefold from a year ago to $622 million.

The San Ramon, California-based Chevron had said earlier this month that rising demand had boosted its first-quarter refining margins, despite the rise in oil prices.

Chevron’s report comes a day after Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE:XOM – News) and Royal Dutch Shell Plc (LSE:RDSA.L – News) beat analysts’ forecasts with their quarterly numbers.

Earlier on Friday, France’s Total (Paris:TOTF.PA – News) said profit rose 35 percent, a day after it announced it would take a majority stake in U.S. solar power company SunPower Corp. (NasdaqGS:SPWRA – News).

Chevron shares were fractionally lower in premarket trading. The stock has gained 19 percent since the start of 2011, in line with Exxon shares.

(Reporting by Matt Daily, additional reporting by Braden Reddall in San Francisco, editing by Gerald E. McCormick, John Wallace and Matthew Lewis)

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