Chevron posts record profit Chevron said Friday that its fourth-quarter profit increased 41 percent to a record $7.25 billion ($3.70 per share) as it reported stronger refining results and a gain from an Australian natural gas field swap. Chevron's refining segment returned to profit from a loss a year earlier as rising supplies from U.S. shale formations lowered crude input costs and processing margins climbed 46 percent. Chevron Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Watson plans to spend $36.7 billion this year to explore for oil, build gas export terminals and upgrade oil refineries. Field swapResults from oil and gas production included a gain from the exchange of a stake in the Browse gas fields in Australia for Royal Dutch Shell's interests in the Clio and Acme fields. Refinery fireProcessing rates at the company's U.S. refineries dropped 8 percent to 702,000 barrels a day from 763,000 a year earlier due to the lingering impact of the August fire that shut a crude processing unit at its Richmond facility.