February 1, 2008
Exxon Mobil Profit Sets Record Again
By JAD MOUAWAD
Exxon Mobil delivered its strongest performance ever last year, earning a record $40.6 billion in net income because of surging oil prices, the company said Friday.
The figure, a 3 percent increase from the previous year, exceeded the company‚Äôs own record for profits at an American corporation, set in 2006, and is nearly twice what it earned in 2003.
Exxon said its fourth-quarter net income rose 14 percent, to $11.7 billion, or $2.13 a share. That also made it the company‚Äôs most profitable quarter ever.
The top Western oil companies are having a tougher time finding reserves and expanding their production as access to resources has tightened in recent years in places like Russia and Venezuela and conventional sources of oil dries up in the North Sea. The industry is also being pressured by rising costs and shortages of workers, rigs and engineering capacity.
But Exxon, like most oil companies, has benefited from a near-doubling of oil prices last year. In New York, oil futures rose from a year-low of about $50 a barrel in early 2007 to a peak of nearly $100 by the end of the year.
The company recorded annual sales of $404.5 billion, up 7 percent from 2006. It had $20.9 billion in capital and exploration expenditure, up $1 billion from the previous year.
Exxon expanded its hydrocarbons production in the fourth quarter by 1 percent, thanks to growing natural gas output from its projects in Qatar. Natural gas production rose 12 percent, to 10.4 billion cubic feet a day, in the fourth quarter.
But oil production dropped by 6 percent in the last quarter, to 2.5 million barrels a day, after the company pulled out of Venezuela.