to our stockholdersour purpose
Affordable, reliable energy serves a vital human need. It has driven the greatest advancements in living standards in human history, and it enables modern life today. We are proud to play a role in providing the energy that makes human progress possible.
This starts with our people. At Chevron, we believe our greatest resource is not the resource in the ground — but rather the inspiration, creativity and ingenuity of our people.
Today, we are working to meet one of humanity’s greatest opportunities: delivering the affordable, reliable, ever-cleaner energy a growing world requires to meet its essential needs, while also achieving its environmental goals. Rising to this challenge requires us to perform at the highest level and inspires us to strengthen a culture where we continually raise performance standards.
As I write this letter, the world is facing extraordinary events, with volatile markets and an evolving global pandemic. While we cannot predict the future, we can do what we do best: provide the energy that society depends upon. Chevron is well prepared to meet this challenge. Our unwavering commitment to the health and safety of our workforce, operating reliably, and capital and cost discipline are core principles that will serve us well as we work to meet the vital energy needs of the world.
In 2019, we faced an environment defined by volatile energy markets. Global economic growth slowed to its lowest pace since 2008 amid stagnant manufacturing and trade tensions. Heightened political uncertainty included tighter U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela and unrest in the Middle East.
To counter slowing demand and surging U.S. supply, OPEC and Russia adopted a more proactive oil market management role. In natural gas markets, warmer weather and slower economic activity tempered demand, while supply continued to grow at a healthy pace through rising U.S. production and the ongoing build-out of new liquefied natural gas (LNG) capacity.
Our results reflect balance, consistency and discipline across all our businesses. In 2019, we led our peer group on several key metrics as we:
Total Stockholder Returns (TSR) in 2019 and 8.5% over the past decade — both leading the peer group
increased our dividend payout
marking the 32nd consecutive year of increased per-share dividend payouts
increased share repurchases to a run-rate of
generated more than
in cash flow from operations and returned $13 billion to shareholders1
lowered our net debt ratio to
further strengthening the company’s balance sheet
1 Includes $9 billion in dividends and $4 billion in share repurchases
2 See page 41 in Annual Report PDF for additional information
Our Upstream business delivered record production even as we streamlined our operational and geographic footprint. We produced 3.06 million oil-equivalent barrels per day in 2019, up more than 4 percent from 2018. We also embarked on changes to define the next evolution of this segment, enhancing our ability to compete in any price environment by driving efficiencies, evolving our portfolio and optimizing the value chain. Production increases in 2019 were driven by Permian Basin growth, the ramp up of the Wheatstone LNG project and other major capital projects. This growth was partially offset by base decline and the impact of asset sales, primarily in Denmark and the United Kingdom.
In Downstream & Chemicals, we strengthened our position in key markets. Chevron Phillips Chemical Company announced agreements with Qatar Petroleum to jointly develop new petrochemical plants.
We enhanced our U.S. Gulf Coast value chain by purchasing the Pasadena Refinery, allowing us to process Permian crude. We signed an agreement to acquire terminals and service stations in Australia. To position us for the energy transition, we are also testing electric vehicle chargers at stations, increasing the availability of renewable diesel and developing renewable natural gas facilities.
Our Midstream business expanded market access for our growing Permian production by increasing pipeline capacity and adding offshore terminal access to open new export opportunities. Chevron Shipping added five new tankers to our fleet that feature technological advancements that significantly reduce emissions. Our Pipeline and Power team pursued opportunities to reduce energy consumption, cut emissions and increase renewables in support of our business.
We are proud of these results. But what was good before simply isn’t good enough anymore. Expectations are rising from all stakeholders — and responding to these expectations is a responsibility we take seriously and a challenge we embrace wholeheartedly. Our ability to continue to create value for our stakeholders relies on maintaining financial, operational and cultural strength — and we are committed to building on that strength.
The 2020 capital and exploratory program supports investments in our worldclass Permian Basin position, Tengizchevroil in Kazakhstan and deepwater opportunities in the Gulf of Mexico.
We elected not to pursue a major acquisition at a price that would have eroded shareholder value and have announced plans to reduce funding to gas-related assets, including Appalachia Shale and Kitimat LNG.
Our disciplined approach to capital prioritizes investment in lower risk, higher return projects that we expect to generate cash flow within a few short years. Our flexible capital program, coupled with our industry-leading balance sheet and low dividend breakeven price, ensure that we continue to have the cash-generating capacity to be a leader in shareholder distributions.
health, environment and safety
We are committed to a culture of operational excellence that places the highest priority on process safety, the health and safety of our workforce, and protection of communities and the environment.
Our energy transition efforts prioritize lowering carbon intensity cost efficiently, increasing renewables in support of our business, and investing in future breakthrough technologies. Our strong governance and disclosures are aligned with the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and highlighted in our 2019 Climate Change Resilience report update. And we are in the process of aligning our ESG reporting with the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB).
We are fortunate to live at a time when the human condition has never been better and prospects for the future have never been brighter. We know the world faces challenges. But we also know, from experience, the path to surmounting any challenge: pursuit of innovation, commitment to partnership, trust in markets and belief in the power of human energy.
This is why we view our commitment to shareholders and stakeholders not only in financial terms but also in human terms.
An investment in Chevron is an investment that drives human progress, lifts millions out of poverty and makes modern life possible. It is an investment that values operating with integrity, getting results the right way and striving for humanity’s highest aspirations: to create a more prosperous, equitable and sustainable world.
We are grateful for your support and honored by the trust you place in us.
Michael K. Wirth
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer