Chevron, the second-largest U.S. oil company, said its first-quarter profit increased 36% to $6.21 billion, or $3.09 a share, up from $4.55 billion, or $2.27 a share, a year earlier thanks to higher oil prices and improved refining margins. Chevron's revenue for the quarter jumped 25% to $60.34 billion.
California-based Chevron's (CVX) results beat the consensus estimate of $3 a share as the performance of the company's global international exploration and production unit picked up during the quarter. The company saw an average selling price of $89 barrel of oil equivalent during the quarter compared with $71 in the first quarter of 2010.
On its conference call with analysts, Chevron noted it was concerned about President Obama's request to Congress to eliminate tax breaks for the oil industry while gasoline prices are hovering near $4 a gallon. Tax breaks are needed to increase domestic crude supply, reduce gasoline prices and help small oil and gas companies bear the risk of investing billions of dollars, Chevron CFO Patricia Yarrington said, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Chevron said its first-quarter production fell 0.7% to 2.76 million barrels per day in the quarter. Improved production in Brazil, Nigeria, Thailand and Canada was not enough to buffer Chevron against declines in other fields. The company reaffirmed its full-year production outlook of 2.79 million barrels per day, which assumes $79 per barrel, the Journal reported.