Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) Q3 2018 Earnings Conference Call - Preliminary Transcript
Nov 02, 2018 • 09:30 am ET
Good day, everyone. Welcome to this ExxonMobil Corporation Third Quarter 2018 Earnings Call. Today's call is being recorded. At this time, I'd like to turn the call over to the Vice President of Investor Relations and Secretary, Mr. Neil Hansen. Please go ahead, sir.
Thank you. Good morning, everyone. Welcome to our third quarter earnings call. We appreciate your participation and continued interest in ExxonMobil. This is Neil Hansen, Vice President of Investor Relations. Joining me on the call today is Jack Williams. Jack is the Senior Vice President with responsibility for the Downstream and Chemical business lines. As we'll discuss on the call today, we are very pleased with our performance in the third quarter. It was a quarter highlighted by strong operating performance, significant growth in liquids production, and considerable value from our integrated business model.
As a result, we delivered the highest level of cash flow from operating activities since 2014. In addition, we completed several advantaged projects and made significant progress on investments that will generate long-term accretive value for our shareholders. After I review the quarterly financial and operating performance, Jack will provide his perspectives on third quarter results and give an update on several key investments and strategic focus areas. Jack and I'll be happy to take your questions following our prepared remarks. Our comments this morning will reference the slides available on the Investors section of our website. I'd also like to draw your attention to the cautionary statement on slide two and the supplemental information at the end of the presentation.
I'll move now to slide three, which summarizes a number of developments that influenced our third quarter performance. As I mentioned previously, cash flow from operating activities was the highest it's been in four years, dating back to the third quarter of 2014. Corporate charges for the quarter were outside the $700 million to $900 million range that we typically experience. This was due to net favorable absolute one-time items of $420 million, primarily related to tax. It's important to note that we expect fourth quarter corporate charges to be at the high-end of the normal range of $700 million to $900 million. Crude oil prices increased slightly during the quarter with Brent up $0.92 and WTI up $1.71. Permian tight oil production increased by 17% relative to the second quarter.
We continue to ramp up drilling activities in the Permian, while also maximizing the value from our integrated midstream and manufacturing operations. We had lower levels of downtime in the third quarter and stronger operating performance in Canada, where Kearl delivered quarterly record net production of 230,000 barrels per day. We also achieved a number of significant milestones on long-term Upstream growth plans in Guyana and Brazil. Jack will discuss this a bit later in the call. In the Downstream, tighter supply resulted in stronger fuels margins in Europe, while wider crude differentials contributed to improved margins in North America. We successfully leveraged our midstream logistics capacity to capture significant value