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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 October 2005, 17:20 GMT 18:20 UK
Exxon profits hit fresh US record
Petrol pump
Exxon Mobil is the world's largest listed oil company
US oil giant Exxon Mobil has posted a quarterly profit of $9.9bn (5.55bn), the largest in US corporate history, on the back of record oil and gas prices.

Profit was up 75% and revenue rose 32% to more than $100bn.

But the results were short of analyst forecasts due to production damage from Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, and lower profit at its chemicals division.

Exxon's record earnings were revealed on the day Royal Dutch Shell said it made $9bn net profit in the quarter.

The Texas-based firm is the world's biggest oil company.

"Our earnings in the third quarter reflect the impact of the relatively volatile industry environment on commodity prices and industry margins," chairman Lee Raymond said.

Exxon shares were down slightly in midday trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

Legislative threat

Oil and gas companies have been benefiting from the rising cost of oil, brought on by the two hurricanes which hit the Gulf of Mexico in late summer, disrupting output.

There have been calls for a windfall profits tax or other penalties on oil companies.

Others have been calling for expanded refining capacity to help bring down pump prices.

Analyst John Kilduff at Fimat USA said the record results "should intensify the scrutiny on the industry from lawmakers".

And earlier this week, House Speaker Dennis Hastert said oil firms must act responsibly to avert legislative efforts over the profits.

"Oil and gas companies are enjoying record profits. That is fine. This is America," Mr Hastert said.

However, he continued: "Our oil companies need to do more to inform the American people about what they are doing to bring down the cost of oil and natural gas. When are new refineries going to be built?"

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