SAN RAMON -- Chevron powered to a profit of $5.67 billion for its second quarter, bolstered by higher prices for crude oil, although production levels slipped, the energy giant reported Friday.
Profit rose 5.6 percent in the April-June quarter compared with the year-ago quarter. The profit of $2.98 a share topped Wall Street's projections of $2.66.
"This was a pretty good quarter for Chevron, but investors are looking to the future, when production is expected to increase," said Brian Youngberg, an analyst with investment firm Edward Jones.
San Ramon-based Chevron said production totaled 2.55 million oil-equivalent barrels a day in the second quarter, which was down 1.4 percent from the year-ago quarter.
"Production was a mixed bag during the quarter," said Pavel Molchanov, an analyst with investment firm Raymond James. "There were some production shortfalls overseas because of operational issues in Angola and Kazakhstan. But U.S. oil volumes had a nice uptick. That shows Chevron can grow production in the U.S."
Chevron says production should surge in 2015.
"We continue to make significant progress on our major capital projects, which are expected to underpin a 20 percent increase in production by 2017," Chevron CEO John Watson said in a prepared release.
Gorgon, a liquefied natural gas field in western Australia, is scheduled to begin production in mid-2015. In the Gulf of Mexico, the Jack/St. Malo oil and natural gas field should begin production by the end of this year and the Bigfoot oil and gas field should begin production in 2015.
Chevron shares Friday fell 1 percent, or $1.34, after the results were announced, closing at $127.90.
"We retain our positive view of Chevron," Roger Read, an analyst with Wells Fargo Securities, wrote Friday. "The startup of several major and higher margin projects beginning in 2014 and continuing through 2016 should deliver meaningful production growth."
Contact George Avalos at 408-859-5167. Follow him at Twitter.com/georgeavalos.