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Exxon Mobil and Chevron, the two largest energy companies in the United States, said on Friday that profits rose to record levels in the second quarter as they continued to reap the benefits of soaring oil and gas prices.

Exxon reported income of $17.9 billion for the three months through June, more than three times what it earned in the same quarter a year ago. Revenue at the energy giant jumped to $115.6 billion, from $67.7 billion a year ago. Chevron’s performance was similar, with profit more than tripling to $11.6 billion as sales rose to $65 billion, compared with $36 billion a year ago.

Coming after oil prices nearly doubled from a year ago, the results were expected, but Exxon and Chevron still beat analysts’ predictions for profits in the quarter. The results mean that five of the biggest Western oil companies — including Britain’s BP and Shell, as well as France’s TotalEnergies — are likely to have generated some $60 billion in earnings for the second quarter.

Shell and Total also reported bumper earnings on Thursday, and analysts are expecting similarly strong results from BP next week.

With oil and gas prices as high as they are, the profit results could increase political pressure on oil companies to do more to boost production and lower costs to consumers. They have already faced harsh criticism from political leaders, including President Biden, over the windfall earnings at a time when consumer prices in the United States are spiking.

On Friday, the companies said they would expand production somewhat, but they also announced a big increase in share buyback programs that reward shareholders.

The surge in profits followed a spike in crude oil, natural gas and gasoline prices this year, resulting mostly from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and efforts to punish Moscow by cutting off its petroleum sales to the rest of the world. A global economy that was rebounding from the coronavirus pandemic and hesitation among oil producers to quickly ramp up production also contributed to the jump in prices.

In the three months from April to June, the American crude oil benchmark averaged about $109 a barrel, or 64 percent more than it did in the same period a year earlier, data from Bloomberg shows. On Friday, the price of West Texas Intermediate crude was closer to $98 a barrel.

The average price of gasoline in the United States reached a record of just over $5 a gallon on June 14, according to AAA. But the price has been falling in recent weeks. On Friday, the national average was about $4.26 a gallon.

Exxon on Friday said that its refining profits — earnings that come from processing crude oil into gasoline and other fuels — surged to $5.3 billion, from a loss of $865 million a year ago. At Chevron, refining profits were $3.5 billion in the second quarter, up from $839 million the year before.

Rising energy costs have become a major contributor to inflation around the world, and have triggered sharp criticism of the energy producers. In June, Mr. Biden said that “Exxon made more money than God this year,” as he chastised the company for not investing enough to increase production. Britain, home of BP and Shell, has announced a special tax on the “extraordinary” profits of oil and gas companies.

“Chevron is growing energy supply, increasing investment, and we’re engaging constructively with Congress and this administration,” Pierre R. Breber, Chevron’s chief financial officer, said on a call with investors to discuss the results on Friday.

On Thursday, Shell’s chief executive, Ben van Beurden, blamed high energy prices on global market conditions and on government policies that had discouraged investment in oil and natural gas.

“In the end our role is to supply the energy the world needs,” he said.

On Friday, Exxon and Chevron noted that they were increasing production in the Permian Basin, a shale oil field in Texas and New Mexico. But the companies are facing pressure from shareholders not to overspend on expansion, said Faisal A. Hersi, an energy analyst at Edward Jones.

“After years of overspending, these companies have found religion and are focused on capital spending discipline,” said Mr. Hersi. “They’re going to try to grow production at that 1 to 3 percent rate, which is an acceptable rate for investors as long as they’re able to increase cash returns.”

At the same time, however, the companies are spending billions of dollars to buy their own shares, a move designed to reward shareholders by raising the value of a company’s stock. The five oil giants spent more than $20 billion on buybacks in the first half of the year, and are likely to spend even more in the second half.

Chevron, which spent nearly $4 billion repurchasing its own shares in the first half of the year, on Friday raised the upper limit of its buyback target for the full year to $15 billion, from $10 billion. Exxon, which spent $6 billion on buybacks in the first half of the year, said on Friday it was “on track” with a plan for $30 billion in buybacks in 2022 and 2023, a target that it tripled a few months ago.

Shell said on Thursday that it would repurchase $6 billion in stock in the third quarter, and Total’s plan for $2 billion in third-quarter buybacks was seen as overly conservative by comparison, so the company’s stock has not risen as much as its competitors’ this week.

Though it is a common practice across the corporate world, spending money on buybacks, instead of investing those funds in expansion or in hiring more workers, has also attracted the ire of politicians, with Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts calling them “manipulation” and her fellow Democrats proposing a tax on the practice.

“It’s a practice that can appear unseemly, and companies don’t always have the best track record of doing buybacks either,” said Steve Sosnick, the chief strategist at Interactive Brokers. “Just like all other types of investors, they can be prone to buying high and not buying low.”

Investors have been keeping a close eye on company earnings this quarter, as fears rise about a potential recession and its effects on business conditions. Expectations that the global economy will slow in the second half of the year have knocked energy prices down in the weeks since the end of the second quarter, making it unlikely that the oil company’s profits will maintain this pace.

“I wouldn’t tell you that we’re seeing something that would say we are in a recession or near recession,” Darren Woods, Exxon’s chief executive, said on a conference call with investors. “But I would also say that it’s a complex picture, frankly.”

But, for now, stock investors are benefiting from the profit bonanza. The energy sector is one of only two groups, out of 11, in the S&P 500 index to post gains in 2022, with a return of 41.7 percent. The other group is utilities, which has gained 3.5 percent.

The broader S&P 500 is down nearly 14 percent by comparison.

On Friday, Exxon’s share price climbed 4.6 percent, and Chevron’s was up 8.8 percent, a gain that made it one of the best performers in the S&P 500.


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