Exxon loses $610 million in the first quarter on writedowns tied to plunging oil

A pigeon flies over a Exxon mobil gas station on October 25, 2018 in Gutenberg New Jersey.

Kena Betancur | Corbis News | Getty Images

Exxon Mobil reported a loss in the first quarter as oil prices dropped to historic lows.

The oil giant lost $610 million in the first quarter due to writedowns tied to falling oil prices.

In the fourth quarter the company reported adjusted earnings of 41 cents per share and revenue of $67.17 billion. In the same quarter a year earlier the company earned $2.35 billion, or 55 cents per share, on revenue of $63.63 billion.

The company said that oil-equivalent production rose 2% year-over-year to 4 million barrels per day.

Shares of Exxon slipped 1.4% during Friday’s premarket trading.

“COVID-19 has significantly impacted near-term demand, resulting in oversupplied markets and unprecedented pressure on commodity prices and margins,” CEO Darren Woods said in a statement.

West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. oil benchmark, has dropped more than 70% this year, forcing some energy companies to cut their dividend. 

But the Exxon CEO has said the company has no plans to cut its dividend, and on Wednesday, ahead of the earnings release, the company said it would maintain its dividend at 87 cents per share.

In April Exxon slashed its capital spending plan for 2020 by 30% from $33 billion to around $23 billion, and said it would cut operating expenses by roughly 15%. The company said the largest share of the reduction would be in the Permian Basin, where it’s easier to adjust short-cycle investments, Woods said.

Shares of Exxon have shed 34% this year.

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