Chevron chairman and CEO John Watson. Image courtesy of World Economic Forum/Youtube.

Despite weak crude prices, Chevron reported third quarter earnings of $5.6 billion Monday as downstream revenues climbed and the company reaped profits from its multi-year divestment plan.

Third quarter profits beat the $5 billion Chevron earned during the same period last year, with earnings per diluted share jumping from $2.57 to $2.95.

U.S. downstream operations earned $809 million in the third quarter of 2014 compared with earnings of $249 million a year earlier, thanks to higher margins on refined product sales, gains from assets sales, and lower operating expenses.

“Despite a decline in crude oil prices, our third quarter earnings were higher than a year ago,” Chairman and CEO John Watson said.

Chevron’s downstream business also benefited from lower feedstock costs and improved refinery reliability.

“In the downstream businesses, the completion of important reliability investments at several of our U.S. refineries is enabling us to benefit from the improved margin environment,” Watson said.

Sales and other operating revenues dropped to $52 billion from $57 billion in 2013.

Worldwide net oil-equivalent production declined slightly to 2.57 million barrels per day in third quarter 2014 from 2.59 million barrels per day in the 2013 third quarter.

But U.S. net oil-equivalent production rose by 22,000 barrels per day to 677,000 barrels per day, 3 percent higher than last year.

International upstream earnings fell $346 million to $3.72 billion from third quarter 2013 due to lower crude sales volumes and higher depreciation and operating expenses.

Chevron said it will ramp up production from its shale and tight resources, particularly in the Permian Basin, and is also planning to develop new projects in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.


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