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What Oil Companies Face: The WTF-Collapse of Consumption of Gasoline & Jet Fuel from Long-Term Weakness

What Oil Companies Face: The WTF-Collapse of Consumption of Gasoline & Jet Fuel from Long-Term Weakness

Transportation fuel demand rose to where it had been in … 1997.

While the overall S&P 500 Index is down 2.7% in October, about flat for the three-month period, and up 2.8% for the year, the S&P 500 Energy Index is down 4.4% for the month, down 19% for the three-month period, and down 50% year-to-date.

On Friday, Exxon Mobil reported a 29% plunge in revenue in the third quarter, and a loss of $680 million – its third loss in a row, the three of them totaling $2.34 billion. And it warned of possible “significant impairment” charges on “assets with carrying values of approximately $25 billion to $30 billion,” mostly related to its North American shale gas operations. The day before, it had announced job cuts of 14,000 employees and contractors globally, including about 1,900 folks at its Houston headquarters.

Chevron [CVX], which completed the acquisition of Noble Energy in early October, announced this week that it would lay off about one quarter of Noble’s employees. Those layoffs are in addition to the cuts of 10%-15% it’s planning for its own workforce. The cuts at Noble amount to nearly 600 people, and the cuts at Chevron amount to 4,500 to 6,750 folks.

Exxon shares [XOM] have plunged 53% year-to-date to $32.62 on Friday, and thereby edged closer to their March 23 decade-low of $31.45. In July 2014, at the cusp of the Oil Bust, XOM reached a high of $135, having since then plunged by 75%.  Exxon’s dividend yield is now over 10%, but everyone knows that, like other oil companies, Exxon could reduce or eliminate its dividend if push comes to shove.

Bankruptcies by US shale oil and gas companies with less heft and diversification than Exxon and Chevron have turned into a flood. The debts listed in the bankruptcy filings over the first nine months of 2020 reached $89 billion and surpassed year-total filings in the prior peak oil-bust year 2016.

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