Exxon Mobil and Chevron results hit by fall in oil price

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Profits at two of the biggest oil firms, Exxon Mobil and Chevron, have dropped sharply, hit by the falling price of crude.

Exxon Mobil saw its profit fall 59% for the April to June period to $1.7bn (£1.3bn) from $4bn in the second quarter last year.

Meanwhile its rival Chevron posted its largest quarterly loss since 2001.

It reported a loss of $1.5bn in the second quarter compared with a $571m profit last year.

However, that is in line with analyst expectations.

Chevron's shares fell 2.3% while Exxon's shares were down 2.9%.

The price of Brent crude is down 16% from its 2016 high and 70% from its all-time high in 2014.

On Friday Brent crude dropped 1.3% to $42.66 a barrel, while US crude fell 1% to $40.73 per barrel.

The energy industry has been trying to cope with a new status quo of low oil prices and slowing demand. They are having to reconsider expansion plans and production levels.

Exxon has cut its spending plans by 38% but that was not enough to offset the dip in the price of crude oil.

'Volatile industry'

The world's biggest oil firm also cut its oil production by 0.6% in the quarter to approximately 3.9 million barrels of oil equivalent per day.

"While our financial results reflect a volatile industry environment, ExxonMobil remains focused on business fundamentals, cost discipline and advancing selective new investments across the value chain to extend our competitive advantage," said Rex Tillerson, Exxon's chief executive officer.

Even Exxon's refining unit, which in the past has helped insulate the company from serious downturns in the market, fell 60% as stockpiles have risen and demand has fallen.

Meanwhile, Chevron cut its oil production by 3% to 2.53 million barrels of oil equivalent per day. Its oil and gas production unit saw a loss of $2.5bn.

Chrevon's chief executive John Watson said the results "reflected lower oil prices and our ongoing adjustment to a lower oil price world."

The company is looking to natural gas operations in China and Angola to help boost cash flow in the coming quarters.

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