Exxon profit nearly doubles on higher oil prices, but falls short of forecasts

Shares of Exxon Mobil fell about 1.9 per cent in premarket trading to US$79.30.
Shares of Exxon Mobil fell about 1.9 per cent in premarket trading to US$79.30.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (REUTERS, AFP) - Exxon Mobil, the world's largest publicly traded oil producer, said on Friday (July 28) that its quarterly profit nearly doubled on surging margins at its operations outside the United States, but results fell shy of Wall Street's expectations.

Shares of Exxon fell about 1.9 per cent in premarket trading to US$79.30.

While Exxon's US portfolio, including its shale projects, lost money, Exxon's gas and oil operations across the world posted a 69 per cent jump in profit.

Oil prices have been fairly stable in the wake of agreements by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to limit production. However, oil producers have been cautious in boosting investment, in part because of worries that prices could retreat again amid surging US shale production.

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The company sold more gasoline and kerosene in the quarter, boosting the bottom line as well, but sales of chemicals slipped due in part to plant maintenance costs and weak margins.

"Our job is to grow long-term value by investing in our integrated portfolio of opportunities that succeed regardless of market conditions," chief executive Darren Woods said in a statement.

The company posted second-quarter net income of US$3.35 billion (S$4.55 billion), or 78 cents per share, compared with US$1.7 billion, or 41 cents per share, a year earlier. Analysts expected earnings of 84 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters.

Production fell about 1 per cent to 3.9 million barrels of oil equivalent per day.

The results come as Exxon battles its shareholders and others over climate change issues.

Exxon has been locked in an aggressive back-and-forth skirmish over climate change documents with New York Attorney-General Eric Schneiderman, who has sought to punish the oil producer for what he says are misleading public disclosures.

Exxon's shareholders in May approved a resolution that called for the company to issue a report on how climate change affects operations. The vote, which was non-binding, passed with 62 per cent of ballots cast and was a rare defeat for Exxon's management.