How rising oil prices are impacting Exxon, BP, Shell, Chevron and Saudi Aramco stock

Oil pumping jacks in an oil field at sunset in Russia. Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg
The soaring oil price is sending the share prices of major oil companies upwards. Photo: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty

Oil prices gained on Monday, as geopolitical tensions in the Middle East ramped up amid conflict between Israel and Hamas.

US crude oil, or West Texas Intermediate (CL=F), rose more than 4% to trade at $86.19 a barrel, while Brent crude (BZ=F) climbed 3.1% to $87.67 a barrel.

The high oil prices support the case that crude could hit $100 a barrel by the end of the year, with Goldman Sachs also recently raising its price target to $100 for the next 12 months.

How oil prices impact energy stocks

So what impact does this have on oil and gas stocks like with ExxonMobil (XOM), BP (BP.L), Shell (SHEL.L), Chevron (CVX) and Saudi Aramco (2223.SR)?

Yousef M Alshammari, chief executive and head of oil research at CMarkits, noted that all of these companies saw a jump in their stocks in August following the rally in oil prices.

Read more: Goldman Sachs predicts oil price to hit $100 on OPEC cuts

He said Brent was trading 23% higher in August than its July levels and it’s expected to gain further towards the end of the year supported particularly by the extension of the Saudi-Russian voluntary cuts.

“This means that we are likely to see improvements in financial performance of such companies as we move towards Q4 this year,” he said.

As of 9 October, Brent has climbed about 30% since mid-June 2023, while US crude has gained about 16%.

Sophie Lund-Yates, lead equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, recently told Yahoo Finance UK: “The soaring oil price is sending the share prices of major oil companies upwards.

"When the price of the black stuff is squeezed skywards, it’s essentially a licence for oil majors to grease their free cash flow and also allows further investment into renewables research and development.

"Of course, not all the oil and gas giants are attacking future-thinking energy solutions with the same gusto, but it’s well understood that those who aren’t are in far more precarious positions when it comes to longevity and retaining investor interest.”

Lund-Yates said the market is also well-tuned to the fact that oil prices are cyclical, and that they will turn.

“That’s why although there have been positive moves from the likes of ExxonMobil, BP and Shell, the changes haven’t been overly dramatic. The prices of these companies will remain sensitive to developments from OPEC+, and a further extension of production cuts could see oil’s value climb further – and of course, the opposite is also true.”

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: “It is, if you will pardon the expression, a crude generalisation, but the higher the oil price goes the better oil stocks tend to perform.

"Higher crude prices mean higher profits and – usually – higher cash flow as a result, and higher cash flow can mean more generous dividends or buyback schemes."

However, he also noted that oil companies often have downstream operations, too, and oil is an input cost and feedstock for those refining petrochemical and chemical operations, so higher prices can have a negative effect upon profit margins here.

In addition, he noted, the oil majors can have gas exposure too, with Europe's Dutch TTF prices falling this year after the spike in 2022 prompted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Top five oil and gas stocks

Here’s a quick look at how some of the biggest oil and gas stocks have performed over the last few months.

ExxonMobil (XOM)

ExxonMobil rose 3.1% on Monday after oil prices shot up but was still way below the share price from the end of September.

Read more: Could oil drop to $60 a barrel? Here’s a look at what changes crude prices

At the end of July, the company said its profit fell 56% in its second-quarter results, joining rivals hurt by the decline in energy prices and lower fuel margins following a bumper 2022, when Russia's invasion of Ukraine sent oil and gas prices soaring.

Excluding last year's record second quarter, however, Exxon posted its strongest result for the April-to-June quarter in more than a decade, helped by cost cuts and the sale of less profitable assets.

Meanwhile, net quarterly income was $7.88bn, or $1.94 per share, versus a record $17.85bn a year earlier.

However, the company’s chief executive said at the time that he expects record oil demand this year and next, and that this may help boost energy prices in the second half of the year.

On 28 July, Exxon declared a third-quarter dividend of $0.91 per share, which was paid on 11 September.


Bernard Looney stepped down on Wednesday as BP's chief executive officer. Photo: Getty.
Bernard Looney stepped down as BP's chief executive officer. Photo: Getty.

Meanwhile, BP’s share price was up more than 3.3% on Monday, to around £522 per share.

Zachs Equity Research said shares have outperformed the industry in the past three months with BP stock gaining 11.2% compared with the industry’s 8.1% growth.

Read more: FTSE outperforms European peers ahead of ECB interest rate decision

In BP's second quarter results on 1 August, it announced a dividend per ordinary share of 7.270 cents, an increase of 10%.

Shell (SHEL.L)

Shell’s share price rose nearly 3% on Monday and is up around 17% since the same point last year.

On 27 July, the company posted net profits of just over $5bn for the three months to the end of June, a drop of more than 50% on the $11.5bn reached in the same period the in 2022.

The figures came as oil and gas prices fell from the highs seen in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Brent crude peaked in June 2022 at $122 a barrel and it had been nearer $75 during Shell's most recent reporting period.

On 4 September, the Shell board announced the pounds sterling and euro equivalent dividend payments in respect of the second quarter 2023 interim dividend, which was announced on July 27, 2023 at $0.331 per ordinary share.

Chevron (CVX)

Chevron stock was also up about 2.8%, off the back of jitters in the Middle East.

At the end of August, the US energy firm reported lower earnings for the second-quarter of 2023 compared to the same period of 2022, joining the other oil and gas majors in posting reduced profits on the back of lower oil and natural gas prices in 2023.

The company said its adjusted earnings were $5.8bn, more than half the adjusted earnings of $11.4bn, reported for the second quarter of 2022.

Meanwhile, it said sales and other operating revenues fell to $47.2bn, from $65.4bn the previous year, primarily due to lower commodity prices.

Chevron's quarterly dividend amount is currently at $1,51 with an annual dividend yield of 3.63%.

Saudi Arabian Oil Company (2222.SR)

Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud
Saudi Arabia plans to transfer a 4% stake of Aramco to the kingdom's sovereign wealth fund. Photo: Getty.

Saudi Aramco stock was less fazed by the Israel conflict, up around 0.2% by afternoon trade in London.

The stock has so far gained around 17% in 2023, as the company, which is the largest oil producer in the world, warned in January that the global oil market was tight and said spare capacity was extremely low.

Saudi Aramco’s second-quarter results were also impacted by weaker oil prices compared to 2022, with its profit down by almost 40%.

The company remained highly profitable despite the loss, with a net income of $30bn last quarter.

Saudi Aramco's current quarterly dividend is listed at 0,34SAR with a 4% annual dividend yield.

Future-proofing profit

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said demand for oil, natural gas and coal will peak this decade due to the growth of renewable energy with large fossil fuel projects running the risk of becoming stranded assets.

In a bid to safeguard their future businesses, oil and gas majors have widely published updates showing the sustainable steps they are taking to engage with the energy transition.

However, the current wave of green initiatives presents a challenge to the traditional business model of the oil and gas industry. On one hand, the companies seem to be taking it seriously, as evidenced by commitments to reducing carbon emissions and investments in negative-emission technologies such as carbon-capture usage and storage.

However, moving forward, these companies will have to be willing to substitute profit-making for climate change — which is likely to also make them profit, although it will likely impact the overall bottom line.

Watch: Small cap enthusiasm could return on interest rate worries for 2024

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