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Monday, 23 April, 2001, 12:48 GMT 13:48 UK
Exxon Mobil reaps $5bn
Esso petrol station
The world's largest oil company, Exxon Mobil, has seen its profits surge to $5.05 bn (3.5bn) during the first three months of the year.

This compared to $3.35bn for the first quarter of 2000, itself a sharp rise over the previous year.

Exxon Mobil, which trades as Esso and Mobil in Europe, attributed the strong results to high oil and natural gas prices, and better profits on fuels, including petrol.

The surging profits figure is sure to anger motorists in countries ranging from the UK and Germany to Australia who have seen petrol prices rise in the past fortnight.

Oil shares rise

First quarter income rose to $57.28bn compared to $54.1bn a year ago.

Share prices in oil companies around the world rose on Monday, in anticipation of strong first quarter results from energy companies.

Exxon Mobil became the largest oil company following its merger at the end of 1999.

The merger was prompted by low crude oil prices which saw the oil majors struggling to cover the costs of exploring and drilling for oil.

But the firm's profits have been affected much more by fluctuations in the international price of crude oil than it has by the benefits of the merger.

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See also:

18 Apr 01 | Business
Q&A: Should petrol be cheaper?
20 Feb 01 | Business
Exxon loses $500m damages case
24 Jan 01 | Business
Exxon Mobil reaps record profits
13 Feb 01 | Business
Oil firms: Excessive profits?
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