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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 July 2006, 14:28 GMT 15:28 UK
Exxon posts fresh bumper profits
Oil rig
Like all oil firms, Exxon is benefiting from high crude prices
Oil giant Exxon Mobil has posted the second-largest quarterly profit ever recorded by a publicly-traded US firm.

Helped by high oil prices, the company earned $10.4bn (5.6bn) in the second quarter of 2006 - a 36% increase on the same period of 2005.

Exxon, which is the world's biggest oil company, said its quarterly revenues rose by 12% to $99bn.

Global oil prices are at record highs because of ongoing concern about the security situation in the Middle East.

Windfall taxes

With Exxon and the other oil giants continuing to set fresh record profits, some analysts say there might be a backlash against the sector.

Critics argue that it is unfair for the oil firms to pass on the high price of crude oil to motorists at the same time as pocketing record earnings, leading to calls for the introduction of windfall taxes.

Exxon's results beat Wall Street expectations, but came in just behind its record profit of $10.7bn set in the fourth quarter of 2005.

Its trading statement comes a month after investors defied the Exxon board and approved a resolution saying directors should be chosen by a majority vote.

It represented a victory for Exxon investors angered by the near-$400m retirement package of ex-chairman and chief executive Lee Raymond.

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