Crude's decline shows in falling producer profits

The slide in oil prices is producing lower prices at the pump, and sharply reduced profits among producers, who tallied their most dismal quarters in years.

Crude's slide, down more than 50 percent from last summer, is taking a large bite from the bottom lines of oil giants Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX). On Friday Chevron said its second-quarter net income plunged 90 percent from the same period a year ago, while Exxon profit dropped by half in the second quarter.

Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) and several oil industry service firms, this week announced large-scale job cuts to cut costs.

But some analysts believe the energy sector is just starting to get used to this new normal of lower crude oil prices.

At $70 a barrel in May, oil prices now hover around $50 a barrel, with the slide coinciding with a strong dollar and strong global inventories.

The scenario is unlikely to change anytime soon, researchers at IHS Energy Insight said in a note that for a decline in U.S. output to appreciably erode the global surplus, "prices would need to range in the low $40s or less for several months."

For Americans filling up their gas tanks, crude's ongoing decline has most paying the lowest July prices since 2009, according to the Triple-A, with Friday's average price at nearly $2.67 a gallon.