Exxon Mobil earnings Q3 2018

Exxon’s global crude oil production roughly matched its output in the year ago period. However, the company’s natural gas output slipped 6.1 percent from a year ago to 9 billion cubic feet per day.

Despite churning out fewer hydrocarbons, earnings in the upstream exploration and production segment more than doubled to $4.23 billion from a year ago. Growing output from U.S. oil fields, higher crude prices and one-time tax impacts offset the slump in natural gas output.

Exxon’s liquids production from the Permian basin, America’s top oil-producing region, increased by 57 percent over the last year. The company said in July it is scaling back natural gas output in the Permian and concentrating on pumping higher-value crude oil.

“We’re pleased with the increase in production from the second quarter of 2018 recognizing it reflects contributions from just one of our key growth areas, the Permian,” Chairman and CEO Darren W. Woods said in a statement. “We expect to continue to increase volumes over time as we ramp up activity in the Permian and new projects start up.”

Pavel Molchanov, energy research analyst at Raymond James, said the better-than-expected report amounted to a “low-quality beat.”

“Part of their earnings upside was simply from lower-than-expected income tax,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

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