Exxon Mobil posts 5.9 percent rise in fourth quarter profits

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

New York, NY, United States (4E) – Exxon Mobil Corp. on Friday reported 5.9 per cent rise in fourth-quarter earnings as strong performance in its refining business compensated for lower energy production.

The world’s largest publicly traded oil company also said that its after-tax earnings for 2012 increased 9 per cent, largely due to the $6.5bn the company gained from the selling and restructuring of its Japanese refining and marketing operations.

In the third quarter, Exxon’s production levels fell to its lowest levels in three years. The company’s revenues in the past several quarters have suffered from unstable prices for crude oil and natural gas.

The company’s daily production for oil and gas in 2012 averaged at 4.239 million barrels a day, down 5.9 per cent from the previous year. Production levels also dropped due to restrictions set by Opec quotas, production-sharing contracts and disposals.

The latest figures came in the midst of major upheavals in the energy industry, as North America stepped in the forefront of shale oil and gas production using hydraulic fracturing, a shift that changed traditional trade and investment patterns.

Exxon has invested huge sums in U.S. shale natural gas, spending $25bn to acquire XTO Energy Inc. The company, however, has drawn flak from analysts as profits margins took a tumble when the market was flooded with the commodity creating a glut.

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