ExxonMobil reports its first annual loss since its merger

Posted February 2, 2021 7:46 a.m. EST

— ExxonMobil lost $22.4 billion in 2020, its first annual loss since the 1999 merger that created the nation's largest oil company.

It's the latest company to report its worst year on record during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The fossil fuel industry has suffered from a plunge in oil prices as stay-at-home orders around both the nation and the world caused the biggest drop in oil use on record -- and oil producers in Russia and Saudi Arabia simultaneously flooded the world with excess supply in a production dispute that lasted for months.

In April, oil prices were trading on global markets at a negative price, as oil producers and traders were having to pay to store all of the excess oil rather than being able to sell it.

Annual revenue at ExxonMobil plunged $83.4 billion, or 31.5%, to $181.5 billion.

The company's $22.4 billion net loss was greatly the result of writedown in the value of its assets. Even excluding those write downs, Exxon would have lost $1.4 billion for the year, compared to a profit of $9.6 billion on that basis in 2019.

Excluding special items reported fourth quarter net loss of $20.1 billion. But that was greatly due to the write downs. Excluding special items it reported an adjusted income of $110 million, a fraction of the $1.8 billion it made in the year earlier period, but the first profitable quarter it record this year.

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