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TOTAL S.A. (ADR) (TOT), BP plc (ADR) (BP): What You Need to Know About Big Oil’s Recent Quarter

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Let’s face it, big oil is called that for a reason. They’re huge companies with thousands of working parts, so trying to track every single well drilled would probably take a whole year. Rather than find yourself buried in a heap of information, here are some key investor takeaways from several integrated majors that should give you a clearer picture of what is going on.

Oil prices left a nasty mark
When TOTAL S.A. (ADR) (NYSE:TOT)‘s 3% drop in adjusted net income year over year is by far and away the best quarter of the integrated majors, you know there were some problems.

Company net income change (year over year)
TOTAL S.A. (ADR) (NYSE:TOT)  (3%)
BP plc (ADR) (NYSE:BP) (25%)
Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) (26%)
Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A) (57%)
Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) (57%)

Source: Second-quarter earnings presentations

Just about every single company got stung by the same thing: declines in Brent crude prices. All of these companies get more oil from outside the North America, and the decline in demand for Brent has taken a big toll on them because they are all very sensitive to the price of Brent crude. To give an example, TOTAL S.A. (ADR) (NYSE:TOT) has stated that every $10 change in Brent prices represents a $1.2 billion swing in adjusted net income.

Total SA (ADR) (NYSE:TOT)The irony of the whole situation is that the increased prices for domestically sourced crudes hurt these players as well. Both Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) and Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) saw declines in refining margins in the U.S. because the narrowed difference between WTI and Brent crude meant that the advantaged crudes in the US weren’t as advantaged as they were before. Only BP plc (ADR) (NYSE:BP) seemed to have some bright news when it came to refining as it just completed a 250,000 barrel per day upgrade at it’s Whiting, Ind., refinery.

Production in holding pattern
All of these companies didn’t exactly set the world on fire earnings-wise, so the next logical step is to look at production. Based on the results, there isn’t much to gain from these numbers either.  

Company Change in Total Production (year over year)
TOTAL S.A. (ADR) (NYSE:TOT) 1%
Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A) (1.3%)
BP plc (ADR) (NYSE:BP) (1.5%)
Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) (1.8%)
Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) (2.4%)

Source: Investor presentations

Even though Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) had the worst year over year drops in production, there isn’t much concern with those numbers. Of the 63,000 barrels per day of production that was lost, 45,000 of those were from scheduled downtime for maintenance and should be coming back up soon. Even Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A)’s drop in production can be explained as the company’s problems with theft, sabotage, and blockades dropped its Nigerian production by 100,000 barrels per day. In fact, if there was something positive to get from these results is that these companies were all able to maintain relatively stable production despite selling off non-core assets.

For companies of this size, it takes more than a well or two to really move the needle in terms of production, so its the big projects coming down the pipe for every one of these companies that is going to have the deepest impact. The most recent of these projects is the Angola LNG project. The facility just started delivering cargoes of LNG to Brazil at the end of June, so we should see some revenue jumps on the natural gas side from Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) (35% working interest in project), BP plc (ADR) (NYSE:BP) (13.6%), and TOTAL S.A. (ADR) (NYSE:TOT) (13.6%) next quarter. Total estimates that the Angola LNG facility will provide a 12% boost to its natural gas sales.

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