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ExxonMobil profits up despite lower oil and gas output

US oil giant ExxonMobil on Thursday (July 31) reported that its earnings came in at US$8.8 billion (S$11 billion) in the second quarter, up 28 per cent from the year-ago level.

NEW YORK: US oil giant ExxonMobil on Thursday (July 31) reported higher second-quarter profits despite pumping less oil and gas than it did a year ago. Exxon, the biggest US oil company and the second-largest US company in terms of market capitalisation after Apple, said earnings came in at US$8.8 billion (S$11 billion), up 28 per cent from the year-ago level.

Production of oil and gas declined 5.7 per cent, but profitability in the exploration and production segment rose 25 per cent to US$7.9 billion. Exxon said "higher realisations" for its output added US$580 million.

Lower oil and gas volumes is often seen as a red flag in the oil business. But Exxon has emphasised that it will not sacrifice profitability for higher output, meaning it will not produce oilfields unless they are highly profitable.

Exxon's downstream earnings rose nearly 80 per cent to US$711 million, while chemicals earnings rose 11.2 per cent to US$841 million.

"ExxonMobil's financial results were achieved through strong operational performance and portfolio management," said chief executive Rex Tillerson. "We continue to enhance shareholder value by funding capital projects and delivering robust shareholder returns through dividends and share purchases."

Results translated into earnings per share of US$2.05, 19 cents above analyst forecasts. Revenues rose 4.7 per cent to US$111.65 billion, above the US$108.38 billion analyst forecast.

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