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Last Updated: Friday, 1 February 2008, 22:42 GMT
Exxon Mobil reports record profit
oil rig

The world's largest publically listed company, the oil giant Exxon Mobil, has reported $40.6bn (20.4bn) net profits during 2007, a record for a US company.

Net profits surged to $11.66bn during the October to December quarter, also a record, up from $10.7bn a year earlier.

The profits were buoyed by soaring global oil prices which briefly hit $100 a barrel in December.

On Thursday, Anglo-Dutch rival Royal Dutch Shell saw $27.56bn annual profits, a record for a UK-listed firm.

Future production

"Their foreign operations did extremely well. That's where they beat the street," said James Halloran, an analysts at National City.

But some analysts said looking ahead the issue of production could pose a problem.

Chris MacDonald at WHG Funds said: "If they are spending $21bn a year on capital expenditure and they can't grow production....It does not bode well for the industry in general."

Exxon lost assets in Venezuela last year when the government took control of oil projects owned by overseas companies.

But that was offset by increased output from fields in the North Sea and Qatar and overall production was up 1% in the quarter.

In a statement, Exxon Mobil Chairman Rex Tillerson said: "Our long-term investment program in projects, often far from major consuming nations, continued to provide resources essential to the increasingly interdependent global energy supply network".

Shares closed down 0.5% in New York at $85.95.

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