: John S. Watson
The nation's second-largest oil company saw another strong year on better performance from its refining business. Chevron's (CVX
) 2012 earnings of $26.2 billion is the second highest result in company history, behind $26.9 billion in profit in 2011.
But while the San Ramon, Calif.-based company earned more from processing crude into fuels such as gasoline and diesel, it also has plans to spend 12% more in energy exploration and investment in the year ahead. A bulk of that investment is expected to go toward upstream crude oil and natural gas exploration production projects, such as one of the world's largest natural gas projects Western Australian.
It also plans to restart business in Brazil, where earlier this year authorities allowed the company to resume production on wells off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. Chevron had been banned, after more than 100,000 gallons of crude seeped into the Atlantic Ocean.
While criminal charges against Chevron have been dropped, the company still faces civil lawsuits seeking damages.