Chevron, the second-largest U.S. oil company, said its fourth-quarter profit will top its third-quarter results thanks to higher oil prices and the sale of a stake in one of its pipelines. During the first two months of the quarter, the company received $77.77 a barrel for crude oil from its U.S. fields, up 7.7% from the full third quarter and 11% higher than a year earlier, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Despite the climb in oil prices, Chevron's (CVX) results will be hampered a bit by slack natural gas prices. The company said that during the first two months of the fourth quarter, U.S. natural-gas prices averaged $3.42 per thousand cubic feet, down 16% from the third quarter and 19% from the year-ago period, the Journal reported.
In the first two months of the quarter, Chevron produced 697,000 barrels of oil per day compared 751,000 barrels in the fourth quarter of 2009. International production rose to 2.07 million barrels from 2.03 million barrels per day in the year earlier period.
The company is forecasting a decline in fourth-quarter refining margins when compared with the third quarter. California-based Chevron is scheduled to deliver its fourth-quarter results on Jan. 28.