Reuters reported Unocal’s 49% profit jump today with the company saying current-quarter earnings would top Wall Street forecasts. Unocal’s results come hot on the heels of yesterday’s ExxonMobil announcement of a US$8.42 billion quarterly profit - the biggest ever for a US company.
Unocal, which has been in the headlines lately amid speculation that Chinese National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) is in talks to bid for its assets, also said production rose in the quarter, largely due to its Asian portfolio.
The California company also forecast its worldwide production this year would reach more than 425,000 barrels of oil per day.
However, Wall Street shrugged off the results, with Fulcrum Global Partners analyst Duane Grubert saying the announcement was "all in all, a bland release". He noted the results excluded costs to settle lawsuits, which were settled in December, about allegations of Unocal ignoring human rights abuses in Myanmar.
Higher oil and gas output in Asia more than offset Unocal’s drop in North American production in the fourth quarter, resulting in average production of 428,000 bopd, up from 420,000 bopd a year earlier.