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Exxon Mobil profit tops $10 billion on crude oil price surge

Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest company by market value, said net income exceeded $10 billion for a third consecutive quarter as rallying crude prices made up for the biggest production decline in three years.

Oil and natural-gas production fell 3.8 percent to the equivalent of 4.28 million barrels of crude a day, the largest decline since the third quarter of 2008, according to Bloomberg data. The drop was smaller than the double-digit production shortfalls reported earlier this week by rivals such as BP, ConocoPhillips and Hess.

Third-quarter profit rose to $10.33 billion, or $2.13 a share, from $7.35 billion, or $1.44, a year earlier, the Irving, Tex.-based company said Thursday in a Business Wire statement. The per-share result was in line with the average estimate of 19 analysts in a Bloomberg survey. Sales rose 32 percent, to $125 billion.

“These guys keep pushing the oil out and selling it like it’s going out of style,” Douglas Ober, who manages $1.6 billion at Adams Express Co. and Petroleum & Resources Corp. in Baltimore.

The last time Exxon’s quarterly profit exceeded $10 billion for three consecutive periods was 2008, when Brent oil touched a record of $147.50 a barrel and the company reaped $45.22 billion in full-year net income. So far this year, Exxon shares have risen 12 percent, poised for the best annual performance since 2007.

Exxon’s 41 percent profit increase was the second-largest among major oil companies that have announced third-quarter results. Only Royal Dutch Shell, the world’s third-largest energy company by market value, boasted a larger jump, by doubling net income to $7 billion.

State-controlled PetroChina lifted third-quarter profit by 7.8 percent. BP, owner of the Macondo well that erupted last year in the Gulf of Mexico, posted a 3.6 percent decline in net income. ConocoPhillips, based in Houston, said third-quarter profit fell 14 percent.

Rounding out the largest international oil companies, Chevron and France’s Total SA are scheduled to announce results Friday, followed by Rio de Janeiro-based Petroleo Brasileiro next month.

Brent crude futures, the benchmark for two-thirds of the world’s oil, jumped 46 percent during the July-through-September period to average $112.09 a barrel.

Exxon chief executive Rex Tillerson plans to spend as much as $37 billion this year to find untapped oil and gas reserves, construct gas-export terminals and expand refineries and chemical plants.

Bloomberg News

The largest corporations in America: According to the 2011 Fortune 500 list, these firms are the nation’s biggest.

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