(Adds unit info, stock price, natural gas data)
By Ernest Scheyder
May 2 Sliding production and weak crude oil
prices hampered Chevron Corp in the first quarter,
leading the second-largest U.S. oil producer, to report a profit
well below Wall Street's expectations.
Chevron, unlike other large energy companies, derives a
larger portion of its U.S. profit from crude oil than natural
That has generally helped the company the past few years,
when natural gas prices sat near 10-year lows. Yet a bitter cold
winter in U.S. during the first quarter pushed up natural gas
prices roughly 50 percent over the same quarter in 2013,
a rally that left Chevron behind and boosted results for rivals
Exxon Mobil Corp and ConocoPhillips.
Chevron's average selling price for two key types of crude
oil, meanwhile, fell 4 percent.
The company posted net income of $4.51 billion, or $2.36 per
share, compared with $6.18 billion, or $3.18 per share, in the
Analysts, though, expected earnings of $2.51 per share,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Globally, Chevron's production fell 2 percent to 2.59
million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd).
The results stood in contrast to Exxon and ConocoPhillips,
which on Thursday posted quarterly profits that beat Wall
Street's expectations. Both companies produce more natural gas
in the United States than Chevron, and rebounding natural gas
prices in the first quarter lifted their respective results.
For example, Chevron produced 1.2 million cubic feet of
natural gas per day (mcfd) in the last quarter in the U.S.,
compared with Exxon's 3.4 mcfd produced in the country.
Chevron Chief Executive John Watson attributed lower crude
oil prices to "global economic factors" and pinned much of the
drop in production on bad weather in Kazakhstan, where the
company is the largest private oil producer and holds stakes in
two oil fields.
Shares of Chevron rose 0.4 percent to $125.39 in Friday
morning trading. As of Thursday's close, the stock had gained
about 6 percent in the last six months.
(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder; Editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid and