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Last Updated: Monday, 31 January, 2005, 17:41 GMT
Exxon Mobil profits exceed $25bn
Oil rig
Profits have soared despite a fall in oil production
US oil giant Exxon Mobil made a record $25.3bn (13.4bn; 19.4bn euros) profit in 2004 as it benefited from the surge in crude oil prices.

The world's largest public oil company saw income from exploration, production and refining soar despite a decline in the amount of oil and gas produced.

Revenues hit a record $298bn as worries over disruption to oil supplies in Iraq, Nigeria and Russia lifted prices.

The firm's annual profit is higher than the gross domestic product of Syria.

Soaring prices

Exxon Mobil's profits rose to $25.33bn from $21.51bn last year, on revenues up 17% to $298bn.

The strong performance boosted its shares, which rose 39 cents to $51.66 in early trading.

Along with the world's other biggest oil producers, Exxon Mobil benefited from the giddy rise in crude oil prices last year.

Ever-increasing demand for oil from China and India plus worries over interruptions to output from key markets fuelled a rise in prices to a thirty year high.

This is a particularly impressive set of results
Credit Suisse First Boston

The increases culminated in prices hitting $55 a barrel in October.

The Texas-based company exceeded market expectations with its performance, which also broke records for the fourth quarter of 2004.

It made an $8.4bn quarterly profit - its highest ever - on revenues of $83.3bn.

Bumper year

"Strong operational performance in all areas of our business helped Exxon Mobil capture the benefits of favourable market conditions in 2004," said chairman Lee Raymond.

Profits from production and exploration in 2004 rose by more than $1.5bn to $4.8bn while profits from refining tripled to $2.3bn.

Exxon Mobil's chemicals business also prospered, generating profits of $1.25bn, compared to $476m the year before.

The sharp rise in profit was achieved despite a 1% fall in oil production and a 2% decline in gas output.

Analysts said the company's profits were much higher than expected, even taking into account the escalation in crude oil prices.

"This is a particularly impressive set of results given that every segment outperformed expectations," Credit Suisse First Boston said.

According to media reports, Anglo-Dutch oil firm Shell is expected on Thursday to reveal a record annual profit for a UK firm of about 9.2bn.

Shell profits 'to top UK record'
30 Jan 05 |  Business
Exxon boosted by oil price boom
28 Oct 04 |  Business
Oil price surge benefits Exxon
29 Jul 04 |  Business

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