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Big Oil is facing a tough week of third-quarter earnings reports

A sign showing gas prices in 2014.
A sign showing gas prices per gallon in 2014. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The world's largest publicly held oil-and-gas companies are slated to report third-quarter earnings this week.

Why it matters: It provides the latest window into how the companies are handling modest oil prices and sluggish global demand growth.

  • BP reports Tuesday; Total SA reports Wednesday; Royal Dutch Shell's comes Thursday; and U.S.-based giants Exxon and Chevron arrive Friday.

Threat level: Per Bloomberg, the companies are expected to post an average 42% drop in earnings.

  • That decline stems not only from oil prices, but also weakness in the petrochemicals market, maintenance keeping facilities at below capacity, and other forces.

But, but, but: It's not just the biggest multinationals facing a tough earnings season.

  • "Investors are bracing for weaker results from U.S. shale players in coming days as lower oil and natural gas prices and cost-cutting measures have weighed on third-quarter operations," Reuters reports.

Go deeper: Big Oil's Q3 lobbying numbers