Exxon Mobil has returned to profit in the first quarter of 2021 with earnings of $2.73bn compared to a loss of $610bn a year ago.

This broke a loss streak, which has been continuing for the past four quarters. In the previous quarter, the oil and gas firm registered a $20.1bn loss.

The company reported $9.3bn in cash flow from operating activities, which financed dividend and capital expenditures as well as resulted in debt reduction of over $4bn.

Oil-equivalent production per day of 3.8 million barrels in the first three months of 2021 was 3% higher than the previous quarter.

The company also said that the winter storm lowered first quarter earnings by around $600m across all businesses.

The company’s upstream operations saw average realisations for crude oil surging 42% from the fourth quarter.

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By GlobalData

Total production volumes surged 98,000 oil-equivalent barrels per day from the fourth quarter.

In downstream operations, industry fuels margins improved from the previous quarter, with lubricants reporting strong performance, noted the company. Overall refining throughput was stable compared to the fourth quarter.

Exxon Mobil chairman and CEO Darren Woods said: “The strong first quarter results reflect the benefits of higher commodity prices and our focus on structural cost reductions, while prioritising investments in assets with a low cost of supply.

“Cash flow from operating activities during the quarter fully covered the dividend and capital investments, and we strengthened the balance sheet by reducing debt.

“We also made progress on our energy transition strategy by launching our new ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions business, which is initially working to develop innovative, large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) concepts, including the evaluation and advancement of more than 20 new opportunities, such as a multi-industry hub to reduce emissions from hard-to-decarbonise industries near the Houston Ship Channel.”