Exxon Results

Exxon Mobil posted a loss Friday for the third  quarter of 2020 as the global pandemic weighed on travel and oil demand.

NEW YORK — Exxon Mobil reported its third consecutive quarter of losses as the global pandemic curtails travel and cripples global economic activity.

The energy giant on Friday posted a $680 million third-quarter loss and revenue tumbled to $46.2 billion from $65.1 billion during the same quarter last year.

The string of losses and what could be a money-losing year is new territory for Exxon Mobil.

“This is a business that’s made a billion dollars a quarter on average from 2011 to 2018 and it’s had a rough go,” said Peter McNally, global sector lead for industrials, materials and energy at Third Bridge, a research firm.

Already struggling with weak prices from oversupply, the pandemic is taking a heavy toll on oil and gas companies. The oil, gas and chemical industries laid off 107,000 workers between March and August, according to a recent study by Deloitte Insights.

Also on Friday, Chevron reported losses of $207 million after turning in a profit of $2.9 billion last year. It brought in $24 billion in revenue, down from $35 billion during the same period last year. On Thursday, ConocoPhillips posted a loss of $450 million after reporting a profit in the same period a year earlier, while Royal Dutch Shell reported a better-than-expected $177 million profit.

The third quarter was an improvement compared with the previous one, when oil futures briefly crashed below zero. Exxon and Chevron lost a combined $9 billion.

Oil prices appeared to stabilize during the third quarter quarter, and better conditions enabled Exxon to recover some of its production curtailments, the company said. Demand for refined products also improved, and chemical sales volumes rose as demand for packaging increased and automotive and construction markets recovered, Exxon said.

The price of U.S. benchmark crude has fallen 40% since the start of the year. The cost for a barrel of oil tumbled 10% just this week as coronavirus infections surged in the U.S. and abroad.

“It’s not going well,” McNally said. “You have to squint at some of the things to find things that are good.”

"We remain confident in our long-term strategy and the fundamentals of our business, and are taking the necessary actions to preserve value while protecting the balance sheet and dividend,” said Exxon CEO Darren Woods. “We are on pace to achieve our 2020 cost-reduction targets and are progressing additional savings next year as we manage through this unprecedented down cycle.”

Exxon announced in March that it would cut expenses by 30%.

On Thursday Exxon announced 1,900 job cuts in its U.S. workforce, mostly in Houston offices, and Chevron, after closing on its acquisition of Noble Energy earlier this month, said it would cut a quarter of that company's jobs.

Oil demand is expected to fall 8% globally this year, according to the International Energy Agency. Some countries are again locking down as the coronavirus surges anew across Europe and the U.S.