Chevron Corporation has reported earnings of $3.1 billion ($1.64 per share – diluted) for fourth quarter 2017, compared with $415 million ($0.22 per share – diluted) in the 2016 fourth quarter. Included in the quarter were non-cash provisional tax benefits of $2.02 billion related to U.S. tax reform and a non-cash charge of $190 million related to a former mining asset. Foreign currency effects decreased earnings in the 2017 fourth quarter by $96 million.
Full-year 2017 earnings were $9.2 billion ($4.85 per share – diluted) compared with a loss of $497 million ($0.27 per share – diluted) in 2016. Included in 2017 were non-cash provisional tax benefits of $2.02 billion related to U.S. tax reform, gains on asset sales of $1.44 billion, and impairments and other non-cash charges of $840 million. Foreign currency effects decreased earnings in 2017 by $446 million. Sales and other operating revenues in fourth quarter 2017 were $36 billion, compared to $30 billion in 2018.
According to Michael Wirth, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) “Earnings and cash flow grew significantly in 2017.” He added that “We achieved our objective of being cash flow positive through deliberate actions to reduce capital expenditures, lower our cost structure, start and ramp-up projects, and conclude planned asset sales. Higher commodity prices helped as well. These improvements give us the confidence to increase the dividend by $0.04 per share, which puts us on track to make 2018 the 31st consecutive year with an increase in annual dividend payout.”
The Chevron Corporation CEO stated further, “We replaced more than 150 percent of the reserves we produced, and reached several significant upstream project milestones in 2017.” Wirth explained “These included our first LNG shipments from Train 3 at Gorgon and Train 1 at Wheatstone in Australia. We also posted impressive production growth in the Permian Basin in the U.S.” The company added approximately 1.54 billion barrels of net oil-equivalent proved reserves in 2017. These additions, which are subject to final reviews, equate to approximately 155 percent of net oil-equivalent production for the year. The largest additions were from the Permian Basin in the United States and the Gorgon Project in Australia.
Wirth disclosed, “Our net oil-equivalent production grew by 5 percent in 2017, including the effects of asset sales and importantly, we expect that our 2018 production will continue to grow by 4 to 7 percent, driven primarily by Australian LNG and the acceleration of development activities in the Permian, where investment economics continue to improve.”
According to him, “In the downstream, we made significant progress on our growth investments.” Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC, the company’s 50 percent-owned affiliate, achieved start-up of two polyethylene units and reached mechanical completion of a new ethane cracker at its U.S. Gulf Coast Petrochemicals Project in Texas. At year-end, balances of cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities totaled $4.8 billion, a decrease of $2.2 billion from the end of 2016. Total debt at December 31, 2017 stood at $38.8 billion, a decrease of $7.4 billion from a year earlier. The company’s Board of Directors approved a $0.04 per share increase in the quarterly dividend to $1.12 per share, payable in March 2018.