After its $11.6 billion record 2008 second quarter profits, Exxon Mobil Corp, the world's largest oil and gas company, posted the highest ever quarterly operating profit of $14.8 billion in the July-September quarter - its own record for the highest quarterly profit for a publicly traded US corporation - helped by high oil prices and fatter refinery margins.
It UK and Anglo-Dutch rivals BP and Royal Dutch Shell Plc also unveiled record quarterly profits of $10 billion (a rise of 148 per cent) and $10.9 billion (a rise of 71 per cent, respectively, boosted by high oil prices and asset sales. (See: BP, Shell gain over $10 billion each in Q3 net)
At $14.8 billion, Exxon's earnings were the highest-ever and 58 per cent above its profits for the year-ago quarter.
''ExxonMobil's strong results in the third quarter of 2008 demonstrate the continued success of our disciplined business approach,'' chairman Rex W Tillerson said.
Excluding special items, third quarter earnings were a record $13.38 billion, up 42 per cent from the third quarter of 2007. Earnings per share excluding special items were up 52 per cent.
Net income included an after-tax special gain of $1.6 billion from the sale of a natural gas transportation business in Germany and an after-tax special charge of $170 million reflecting a provision for interest related to the Valdez punitive damages award.
Earnings for the first nine months of 2008 excluding special items were $36.24 billion, an increase of 25 per cent over the first nine months of 2007. Net income for the first nine months of 2008 was $37.4 billion, up 29 per cent compared to the previous year.
Irving, Texas-based Exxon said a strong performance by its refining arm amidst a fall in crude prices during the quarter helped profit margins.
Exxon profits rose despite a decline in oil production in the quarter, hurt by the hurricanes that swept through the Gulf of Mexico.
US oil prices, which had peaked above a record $147 per barrel in early July, has now come down to below $70 a barrel levels. Still, prices averaged about $118 barrel for the quarter as a whole, up $40 from the year-ago period.