Shell, Exxon post hefty profit increase on higher oil prices

Their earnings boosted by higher oil prices and earnings from refining, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch posted hefty increases in their first-quarter profit today.

Exxon Mobil, the largest American oil company, said net income was up 69 per cent at $10.7 billion, or $2.14 a share, in the first three months of this year, as against $6.3 billion, or $1.33 a share, in the same period last year. 

The earnings beat expectations of some analysts marking the fifth straight quarter of increased earnings by the company. 

According to Shell earlier today, its profit for the period rose 30 per cent.

Analysts say oil companies are benefiting from a rise of over 30 per cent in the price of oil over the last 12 months. 

Meanwhile, continued growth in economic demand is expected to support a relatively high price of oil but there are signs that US consumers are keeping from filling up their tanks due to rising gasoline prices.