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ExxonMobil posts largest loss ever as COVID-19 pandemic hammers oil industry


ExxonMobil reported its biggest-ever quarterly loss on Friday as the coronavirus pandemic slammed demand and prices for oil.

The Texas-based oil giant lost nearly $1.1 billion from April to June as COVID-19 caused a historic plunge in oil prices that hammered its production business.

That came on the heels of a $610 million loss in the first three months of the year, which was the first quarterly loss the company had posted since it was formed in a 1999 merger, according to ExxonMobil spokesperson Casey Norton.

“The global pandemic and oversupply conditions significantly impacted our second quarter financial results with lower prices, margins and sales volumes,” company chairman and CEO Darren Woods said in a statement.

Exxon’s second-quarter loss of 26 cents a share wasn’t as bad as the 64-cent loss Wall Street was expecting, according to Bloomberg data. But it marked a stark reversal from the $3.1 billion profit the company posted in the same period last year.

Revenues plunged to $32.6 billion — less than half last year’s levels — while the pandemic depressed oil and gas output by 7 percent to 3.6 million barrels a day, Exxon said.

But the rough quarter apparently won’t affect Exxon’s payouts to shareholders. The company said Wednesday that it will pay a dividend of 87 cents a share in September, an amount that’s held steady since the second quarter of last year.

Other oil giants have suffered amid the collapse in prices caused by pandemic-related lockdowns and a price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia that created a glut of fuel in the spring. The market deteriorated so much that the price of a benchmark US crude oil future dropped below $0 a barrel for the first time ever in April.

ExxonMobil shares were off 0.4 percent at $41.68 as of 10:24 a.m. Friday.

With Post wires

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