ExxonMobil and Chevron both reported deep quarterly losses on Friday, as two of the US’s corporate titans revealed the trauma caused to their businesses by the worst oil price crash in decades. The companies swung to second-quarter losses of $8.3bn and $1.1bn respectively – down from profits of $4bn and $3.1bn each for the same period last year – as the price-plunge triggered by the pandemic and Saudi-Russian price war slashed revenue. Exxon’s loss was its second in as many quarters, snapping decades of consecutive quarterly profits. Chevron’s was its deepest in recent history.

“The demand destruction in the second quarter was unprecedented in the history of modern oil markets,” Neil Chapman, Exxon senior vice-president, told analysts on an investor call. “To put it in context, absolute demand fell to levels we haven’t seen in nearly 20 years,” he said. “We’ve never seen a decline with this magnitude of pace before, even relative to the historic periods of demand volatility following the global financial crisis and as far back as the 1970s oil and energy crisis.”

Chevron’s results were significantly worse than analysts had anticipated, knocking its shares by more than 4 percent. Exxon, having already warned investors to expect a poor quarterly filing, outperformed expectations. Its shares nonetheless fell by about 1 percent as trading started.