Oil Company Q3 Earnings Decline Across the Board

SAN ANTONIO, IRVING, Texas and AMSTERDAM -- The continuing roller coaster ride regarding gas prices was one main reason why three oil-related companies reported lower earnings today. ExxonMobil Corp., Tesoro Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell plc all reported that 2012 third-quarter earnings declined compared to the same timeframe in 2011.

ExxonMobil, the largest oil company in the world, earned $9.57 billion in its 2012 Q3, compared to a profit of $10.33 billion a year ago. Although ExxonMobil's earnings dropped, the $9.57 billion figure was larger than analyst estimates.

"The (earnings) beat definitely came from the refining side of the business," Brian Youngberg, energy company analyst at Edward Jones, told Reuters.

Over at Tesoro in San Antonio, 2012 Q3 net earnings dropped to $273 million, vs. a $345 million profit last year.

However, despite the lower earnings, president and CEO Greg Goff said Tesoro had a solid operating performance and high refinery utilization.

At the company's gas stations, retail fuel sales volumes were up 18 percent, thanks to the addition of 174 retail locations from Thrifty Oil Co. in the second and third quarters of 2012 and 49 Albertson's Fuel Express convenience stores acquired in the first quarter of this year.

However, Tesoro's same-store fuel sales declined by 1 percent compared to the same period last year.

Amsterdam-based Royal Dutch Shell plc suffered a 15-percent core income decrease due to lower oil and gas prices. The company earned $6.13 billion, compared to $7.24 billion last year, the Associated Press reported.

Total sales at Shell fell 8.9 percent to $112 billion.

On the positive side, Shell's CEO Peter Voser reported the company had "underlying" oil production growth and "made progress" in its offshore drilling program in Alaska, reported AP.

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