ExxonMobil Posts Profits of $6 Billion in Q4

Off 23% from last year

ExxonMobil said on Feb. 1 its fourth quarter profit fell 23% from a year ago to $6.05 billion.

The results brought full-year 2009 profits to $19.3 billion including special items, a sharp 57 % drop from the all-time profit record of $45.22 billion a year earlier.

"Despite continuing difficult global economic conditions, ExxonMobil delivered strong business results and built on our long-term focus," said chairman Rex Tillerson.

"Our financial strength provided us with the foundation to continue investing in new energy supplies to help meet global energy demand and to fuel economic growth. Capital and exploration spending was $27.1 billion in 2009, another record year, and in line with our longer term plan."

The results reflect in part the massive drop in global energy prices from record levels in 2008, which had pushed up the profits of ExxonMobil and others to stratospheric heights.

Crude oil, which surged to a record $147 a barrel in July 2008, plunged under $34 a barrel in February 2009 before bouncing back to the current levels above $70 a barrel.

Most of ExxonMobil's profits came from the "upstream" side, or production and exploration, which resulted in operating earnings of $5.78 billion.

The "downstream" side of refining and marketing produced an operating loss of $189 million, due to lower profit margins.

Chemical operations earned $717 million in the period.

The full-year profit was boosted by a gain of $1.6 billion from the sale of a natural gas transportation business in Germany, offset in part by special charges of $460 million related to litigation over the Valdez 1989 oil spill.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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