Record Chevron profit product of fuel prices

Published: Saturday, January 28, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 28, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
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Chevron employee Mario Ferrer gases up his motorcycle at a Chevron gas station near ChevronTexaco headquarters in San Ramon, Calif., Monday, April 4, 2005. Chevron Corp.'s earnings rose 20 percent to a record $4.14 billion in the fourth quarter on the strength of high fuel prices. That lifted the oil company's earnings for the year to $14.1 billion, the highest in its 126-year history.

AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File
SAN RAMON, Calif. - Chevron Corp. on Friday reported the highest quarterly and annual profits in its 126-year history, refocusing attention on the high fuel prices that have enriched the oil company's shareholders and exasperated consumers paying more to fill their gasoline tanks and heat their homes.
The San Ramon, Calif.-based company's fourth-quarter earnings rose 20 percent to $4.14 billion, the most it has made in any three-month period since its inception in 1879. The performance topped the $4.13 billion earned during the second quarter of 2004 - the early stages of a two-year boom.
Chevron's profit of $14.1 billion for the full year also was a company record. It now has posted record annual profits in each of the last two years, earning a combined $27.4 billion.
Oppenheimer & Co. Fadel Gheit believes Chevron will set yet another new earnings record this year as the company continues to mine crude oil prices that are expected to remain above $60 per barrel. "We are only scratching the surface," Gheit said. "In my view, this company is hitting on all cylinders."
Chevron's windfall isn't unique in its industry. Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest publicly traded oil company, earned nearly $10 billion in the third quarter. It is expected to surpass $35 billion for the year.
and its profit for the entire year is expected to surpass $35 billion when it releases its fourth quarter results Monday.
While the oil industry's recent prosperity has pleased Wall Street, it has raised hackles in Congress, where some lawmakers have recently threatened a windfall profit tax to prod companies to spend more money to increase production.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat who attacked Chevron Chairman David O'Reilly and other oil industry executives when they appeared before Congress in November, lashed out again Friday.
"I call on the Bush Administration and the Federal Trade Commission to put an end to this price gouging," Boxer said. "You'd think FTC stood for 'Friend to Chevron' with the way they sit back and let these companies gouge consumers."

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