US Oil Companies Suffer On Low Global Oil Price

ChevronTexaco., and Conoco have both reported profit declines for the first quarter of 2002, and Phillips Petroleum said that it made a loss, as oil and natural gas prices tumbled and refining income evaporated. ChevronTexaco, which is the second biggest US oil company, said that net income fell by seventy percent to $725 million from a year earlier. Conoco's profit fell by eighty four percent to $104 million. Phillips' loss was $25 million, compared with a profit of $516 million. Conoco and Phillips are merging to become the third largest US oil group. The sluggish economy hurt oil prices, and the mild winter trimmed demand for natural gas and heating oil. The September 11th terrorist attacks curbed travel, hurting sales of jet fuel and gasoline. Energy prices have since risen, and analysts said earnings will improve in the current quarter. “It was probably the worst quarter for oil companies in the last three years,” said Fahnestock analyst Fadel Gheit. “I think the worst is over, and things will be better from here.”

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