First-quarter profits of US integrated oil companies are expected to rise
year-over-year mainly thanks to higher Brent crude prices, which traded at more
than USD118/bbl during the quarter, or about 12% higher than the same period a
ExxonMobil, however, is likely to be the exception, as the world's largest
publicly traded oil company is expected to report lower profits due to its large
exposure to low natural gas prices, which during the first quarter tumbled 40.5%
to USD2.50 per million BTUs compared with a year earlier.
US oil majors' quarterly results are expected to benefit also from a rebound
in refining and marketing profits, which are expected to see a boost from a year
earlier thanks to improved refining margins.
"Two factors are going to boost oil majors' earnings: higher crude prices and
improved refining margins," says Alan Good, an analyst with Morningstar. "In
Exxon's case, its unwavering focus on natural gas is going to hold it