Optimism surrounding the potential increase in oil prices is fading with WTI back below $50 per barrel. Nevertheless, the oil industry is doing much better than it was last year. As the first few earnings reports start trickling in, profits are up sharply from 2016 levels. Chevron and Exxon reported strong figures on Friday, beating expectations. Chevron took in $2.3 billion in the first quarter of this year, compared to a loss of $725 million in the same period in 2016. Its cash flow more than tripled to $3.9 billion. Exxon’s profits more than doubled to $4 billion in the first quarter, year-on-year. Although the oil majors exceeded the consensus estimates, the sharp increase in profits was widely anticipated. Even though crude oil got stuck in the $50s per barrel in the first quarter, prices were up dramatically from the first quarter of 2016, a period of time when […]