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Oil majors endure tough Q1 fighting low commodity prices

The world'soil supermajors reported difficult results for the first quarter of 2016, showingthat the prolonged oil and gas price collapse has spared few.

reported earningsof $1.81 billion for the first quarter, down more than $3 billion from the firstquarter of 2015. The company's U.S. upstream segment reported a loss of $832 millionfor the quarter, outpacing a $756 million profit in non-U.S. upstream, comparedto a $52 million loss in U.S. upstream in the first quarter of 2015 and a $2.9 billionprofit from upstream operations elsewhere. The company's biggest gainer was itschemicals segment, which reported a combined $1.36 billion profit between the U.S.and global operations.

"Theseresults demonstrate the durability of our integrated business, enhanced by our relentlessfocus on managing those factors that we can control, including effective cost management,reliable performance and operational integrity," Vice President of InvestorRelations and Secretary Jeffrey Woodbury said during Exxon's first-quarter earningscall. "A highlight this quarter is our strong chemical results, which underscoressignificant gas and liquids cracking advantages at our integrated sites and differentiatedcapabilities across the value chain. … During the quarter, we benefited from recentcapacity additions while reducing CapEx 33% versus the prior year quarter."

AnotherU.S.-based oil major, Chevron Corp.,was unable to get back in the black in the first quarter after reporting its in 13 years the quarterbefore. It reported a $725 million first-quarter loss, down from a $2.57 billionprofit in the first quarter of 2015. Its upstream segment reported a loss of $1.46billion, including an $850 million loss in the U.S. that it blamed on lower oiland gas prices. As a result of the price downturn, the company is looking to cutcosts, which includes reducing its workforce.

"Ourefforts are focused on achieving sustainable reductions and improving efficiencies,"Executive Vice President of Technology, Projects and Services Joseph Geagea saidduring Chevron's first-quarter earnings call. "We have reduced our employeehead count by more than 4,000 relative to year-end 2014, and we are on target toachieve approximately 8,000 total employee reductions by the end of 2016. We'realso on target to reduce our contract to workforce by about 6,500 from 2014 levels."

The Britishgiant BP plc reporteda underlying replacement-cost profit of $532 million for the first quarter, comparedto $196 million in the fourth quarter and $2.58 billion during the first quarterof 2015. The company's U.S. upstream segment reported a loss of $667 million, andthe entire upstream unit reported a loss of $747 million. The company reported thatit expects production numbers to decrease globally in the second quarter as it continuesto pull back as a result of lower product costs.

"Despitethe challenging environment, we are driving towards our near-term goal of rebalancingBP's cash flows," CEO Bob Dudley said on the earnings call. "Operationalperformance is strong, and our work to reset costs has considerable momentum andis delivering results. Furthermore, development of our next wave of material upstreamprojects is well on track."

reported earningsof $814 million, down from $4.76 billion in the first quarter of 2015. The company'supstream segment reported a loss of $1.44 billion. CEO Ben van Beurden said thecompany's downstream and integrated gas businesses helped offset the damage doneby low oil and gas prices.

"Wecontinue to reduce our spending levels, to capture cost opportunities and managethe financial framework in today's lower oil price environment," he said.