Eighteen oil and natural gas companies had reported their third quarter 2009 earnings as of yesterday afternoon, and the results have been a mixed bag. Companies that focus on oil and natural gas production--also called the upstream sector of the business--experienced a better financial quarter than large integrated companies that have both upstream and downstream operations--refining and marketing. The companies that fared worst are in the downstream portion of the business, and some of them actually lost money.
The chart below puts the companies' earnings in perspective.
At this writing, the oil and natural gas industry in the third quarter of 2009 is averaging earnings of 5.8 cents per dollar of sales. That's far below the Dow Jones Industrial companies, which are averaging 9.7 cents o... more »