So many sets of parentheses show up on the latest oil company earnings reports denoting losses that long columns of figures seem to be doing a shimmy right on the page.
An already weakening market was shredded last year by the pandemic, as prices and volumes fell worldwide. Oil majors that were once the most powerful corporations in the world lost much of their footing in 2020, along with many billions of dollars. A bad global economy, a promise by the Biden administration to get serious about climate change and growing confidence in a future of all-electric vehicles have started to raise questions about just how viable these companies will be.
Conoco Phillips announced this week that it lost $2.7 billion in 2020. BP and Chevron each lost just over $5.5 billion. ExxonMobil posted a loss of $20 billion.
With all the bad news it dealt with last year, ExxonMobil “still paid $15.2 billion to its shareholders, borrowing money and selling off assets to help fund its generous dividend and modest share buybacks,” Clark Williams-Derry, an analyst with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, in Lakewood, Ohio, wrote in a note.