Profits for the two oil giants, which are locked in a standoff over drilling off the coast of Guyana, were squeezed by lower profitability for refining crude and falling natural gas prices.

Exxon Mobil and Chevron, the largest American energy companies, said on Friday that their earnings in the first quarter fell from a year earlier, pulled down by lower margins on oil refining and plunging natural gas prices.

But the oil and gas business remains highly profitable for the two giants even at a time of moderate oil prices.

The price for Brent crude oil, the international benchmark, has been rising in recent weeks and is currently just under $90 a barrel. If this upward trend continues, company earnings could rise. Brent crude is still selling for well below its 2022 peak, when it jumped above $100 a barrel after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Exxon Mobil said earnings were $8.2 billion in the

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