Chevron says profits jump on asset sales, cuts 2020 spending plans againChevron says profits jump on asset sales, cuts 2020 spending plans again
Chevron (CVX)’s logo is seen in Los Angeles

(Reuters) – Chevron Corp on Friday delivered a year-over-year 38% increase in profits and slashed its capital spending plans by another $2 billion as the coronavirus pandemic guts global demand for oil and gas.

Oil companies are cutting output and spending while people globally shelter at home for an indefinite period and oil prices drop to historic lows.

Earnings at Chevron beat Wall Street expectations and were$3.6 billion in the first quarter, up from $2.6 billion during the same period last year and boosted by $1.6 billion in asset sales in the Philippines and Azerbaijan.

The second-largest oil producer in the United States cut its spending budget to $14 billion, on top of the $4 billion it slashed after the oil crash began in March. It had planned to spend $20 billion this year. Its 30% planned spending cut now matches that of U.S. rival Exxon Mobil Corp.

“Chevron is responding to these unprecedented challenges by making changes to what we control,” said Chief executive Mike Wirth.

Lower profits in its U.S. exploration and production business were offset by higher earnings in its international business.

The company covered its dividend and capital spending with cash and “is in a strong position weather the storm,” said Anish Kapadia of Palissy Advisors.

Oil and gas output rose to 3.24 million barrels per day, an increase of more than 6%.

Chevron held its dividend steady this quarter, while Royal Dutch Shell on Thursday cut its dividend for the first time since World War Two and reported first-quarter profits down 46%. Equinor last week also cut its dividend, while BP Plc and Exxon kept their dividends stable.

(Reporting by Jennifer Hiller in Houston and Shariq Khan in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Steve Orlofsky)