Exxon Energy (FILE - In this April 16, 2010 file  photo, steam rises from towers at an Exxon Mobil refinery in Baytown, Texas. E
Pat Sullivan/AP
Exxon Mobil, the world's largest publicly traded oil company, reported higher-than-expected quarterly results on Thursday as output rose for the first time in more than two years, but refining weakness hurt earnings.

Exxon (XOM) and other large oil companies struggling to boost production in recent years have spent heavily on new projects. In the first three months of this year, Exxon alone spent $33 billion.

"This is their first year-over-year [production] increase in more than two years," said Brian Youngberg, an energy company analyst at Edward Jones in St. Louis. "It does show that they are hopefully making some progress stemming the decline that they've shown the last couple of years."

Exxon last reported a quarterly gain in production in the second quarter of 2011.

Oil and natural gas output rose 1.5 percent from a year earlier to 4 million barrels oil equivalent per day, helped by the start-up of new projects, the Irving, Texas, company said.

Natural gas from Australia's Kipper Tuna Turrum project and accelerated output from projects in Nigeria and Canada also contributed to the higher production.

Profit in the third quarter was $7.87 billion, or $1.79 a share, compared with $9.57 billion, or $2.09 a share, a year earlier.
Analysts on average had expected $1.77 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

"Weaker margins, mainly in refining, decreased earnings by $2.4 billion," Exxon said in a statement.

Oil companies with refining units, such as Exxon and Royal Dutch Shell (RDS-A) (RDS-B), have seen profit hurt in the quarter as demand for fuels such as gasoline and diesel waned and global refining capacity grew.

Exxon's refining unit had a profit of $592 million in the latest quarter, down sharply from $3.2 billion a year earlier.

The company's shares rose in premarket trading to $89, up slightly from Wednesday's New York Stock Exchange close of $88.81.

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Please DF, a little more information on this? I am now forced to visit Mrs. Google for the finer details. Yep. a bundle of money tied-up in this. What is it that they taught in journalism school? The five "Ws" who what when where, and whow: w-how? This refining business is highly questionable. Not enough? Antiquated plants? What gives. Remember the OPEC oil embargo, and the Kissinger plan? "Energy-Independent" in four years? What year is it now? I liked Dick's idea to OPEC, bomb the Saudi's to kingdom-come, the spoils of war. A pipe-line from Canada to where? To what refineries? Build three more way up north and then tap into the existing pipes.

October 31 2013 at 9:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply