Exxon: Papua New Guinea quake bruised quarterly figures

April 27 (UPI) — Dinged by a severe earthquake in Papua New Guinea, Exxon Mobil said Friday its production levels were down 6 percent when compared with last year.

In its quarterly report, Exxon said Friday that the 7.5-magnitude quake in late February took $80 million off its earnings and cut production by around 25,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. On April 17, however, the company was able to restart one train — the part of its plant that turns gas to liquid — ahead of schedule. The second train will restart once the plant’s production increases.

Oil Search is a partner in a liquefied natural gas facility and oil production in Papua New Guinea. In a report on operations through March 31, the company said its first quarter production of 4.84 million barrels of oil equivalent was 36 percent lower than fourth quarter 2017

Exxon leads the project and shut down much of the infrastructure after a the earthquake.

Across its portfolio, Exxon said total production averaged 3.9 million barrels of oil equivalent per day during the first quarter, down 6 percent from the same period last year. Other declines in output were attributed to divestments, though some of the downturn in production was offset by growth in North America.

“Through new discoveries and acquired acreage, we’ve positioned our upstream portfolio well for future growth,” Chairman and CEO Darren Woods said in a statement.

Upstream refers to the exploration and production side of the energy sector and contributed $469 million to Exxon’s first quarter earnings of $4.6 billion. Total first quarter earnings were 16 percent higher than the same period last year, but 45 percent below fourth quarter figures.

Fourth quarter earnings from exploration and production were $9 billion higher than the same period in 2016. The company said $7.1 billion of that was driven by the U.S. tax reform. The measure permanently cuts taxes for corporations from 35 percent to 21 percent.

Spending on exploration in the third quarter was 3 percent lower during the first nine months of 2017 and Hurricane Harvey took $160 million off those quarterly figures.