By Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Amid soaring gasoline prices in the second quarter, the eight biggest independent U.S. refiners are set to report later this month a huge 652% sequential jump in their average earnings per share (EPS), according to estimates from investment bank Tudor Pickering Holt & Co cited by The Wall Street Journal.
All refiners and all integrated oil and gas companies are set for a windfall of profits for the second quarter as U.S. gasoline prices soared to the highest ever on record of over $5 per gallon in early June.
The biggest refiners are also expected to generate billions of cash flow from operations as refining margins are at their highest in many years.
“We’re seeing margins twice as high as the golden age,” Charles Kemp, a vice president at energy consulting firm Baker & O’Brien Inc, told the Journal. Kemp was referring to the 2004-2007 period, when refiners booked massive profits, too.
The largest international majors are also set for exceptional earnings at their refining businesses, thanks to high refining margins and fuel demand in the second quarter. Some of the largest international oil majors have already announced expectations of blockbuster earnings from their refining divisions when they report Q2 profits later this month.
France’s supermajor TotalEnergies said last week that “Refining & Chemicals results are expected to be exceptional given the very high levels of distillate and gasoline cracks.” ExxonMobil said in an SEC filing in early July that the rise in industry margins is set to add between $4.4 billion and $4.6 billion to its Q2 results. At Shell, the refining margin nearly tripled in Q2 compared to Q1 and is expected to add between $800 million and $1.2 billion to the second quarter results of Shell’s Products division, compared to the first quarter 2022.
Yet, the second quarter could have been the peak refining profits for some time as gasoline demand in the United States has weakened in recent weeks in response to high prices at the pump. Crude oil prices have also dropped from the recent highs of $120 a barrel as markets fear a recession is coming.