Chevron Corp. (NYSE:CVX), the world's third-largest oil company by market value, slumped to the lowest in a year after saying fourth-quarter profit plunged 32 percent amid lower production and falling prices.
The shares dropped 3.5 percent to $112.36 at 2:38 p.m. in New York after touching a 52-week low of $111.25.
Net income decreased to $4.93 billion, or $2.57 a share, in the three months ended Dec. 31, from $7.25 billion, or $3.70 a share, in the year-earlier period, the San Ramon, California-based company said in a statement today.
Per-share results at Chevron matched the average estimate of 18 analysts.
Sales fell 7.3 percent to $56.2 billion.
Chevron's fourth-quarter production dropped 3.4 percent to an average of 2.58 million barrels of oil equivalent a day in the quarter, from 2.67 million barrels a year earlier. Earnings from oil and gas sales fell 29 percent to $4.85 billion.
"Global crude oil prices and refining margins were generally lower in 2013 than 2012,” Chief Executive Officer John Watson said in the statement.
“These conditions, as well as lower gains on asset sales and higher expenses, resulted in lower earnings."
Brent crude, the global benchmark oil price, averaged $109.35 a barrel in the last three months of 2013, a 78-cent drop from the prior fourth quarter.
Chevron’s refining earnings fell 58 per cent compared with a year ago, because the prices received for refined fuels and chemicals were low compared to the cost of the crude oil used to make them.
For 2014, Chevron expects total production of 2.6 million boe/d, up only 0.5 percent from 2013 levels. The estimate missed Wall Street's expectations and disappointed investors.
Chevron spent $41.9 billion on new projects around the world in 2013, a record for the company, up from $34.2 billion in 2012.