Investing.com — ExxonMobil (NYSE:) has reported higher-than-anticipated fourth-quarter profit largely thanks to a spike in U.S. oil production that has offset moderating crude prices.
Like other energy supermajors, Exxon has moved to expand its domestic output over much of the past year, with much of its focus on the massive Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico. When combined with Guyana, where Exxon discovered 11 billion barrels of oil in 2015, production rose by more than 18%.
The output push has helped soften the blow from a downturn in oil prices from a spike in 2022 that was caused by the outbreak of war in Ukraine. Oil company incomes had surged that year, creating a high basis of comparison for quarterly performance in 2023.
Adjusted earnings per share in the three months ended on Dec. 31 fell to $2.48, down from $3.40 in the corresponding period in 2022. But the figure still topped Bloomberg consensus estimates of $2.22.
Annual profit of $36.0B, meanwhile, was its largest since 2012 despite slipping from $55.7B in the prior year.
The company also said that it will resume share repurchases following a special meeting on Feb. 7 of stakeholders in Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE:), the shale group Exxon agreed to buy for almost $60 billion in October in a bid to expand its position in the Permian Basin.
Buybacks are expected to increase to $20B annually by 2025 following the acquisition’s expected closure in the second quarter of this year. In 2023, the company repurchased around $17.5B in shares in 2023, in line with its full-year guidance and ahead of peers like Chevron (NYSE:) and BP (NYSE:).
Exxon’s stock price inched slightly higher in premarket U.S. trading on Friday.