The oil company's profits may be even higher this quarter, an analyst says.
DALLAS (AP) -- Oil industry behemoth Exxon Mobil's earnings rose to 10.49 billion in the third quarter, the second-largest quarterly profit ever recorded by a publicly traded U.S. company. Its shares rose to a 52-week high.
The report Thursday comes as high crude prices this year have fueled record profits in the oil industry, triggering an outcry from consumers who were being asked to pay about 3 a gallon for gasoline in early August.
The largest quarterly profit ever was Exxon Mobil Corp.'s 10.71 billion profit in the fourth quarter of 2005.
The company may beat that next quarter, said Howard Silverblatt Standard & amp; Poor's Senior Index Analyst. "Then in all likelihood they will be at that 40 billion mark for the year."
That would put the company on track for the highest annual profit ever by a U.S. company. Exxon Mobil holds that record with a 2005 profit of 36.1 billion.
Although crude oil prices began to decline toward the end of the third quarter, the average market price for crude held at around 70 a barrel in the period after peaking above 78 per barrel in July. Oil futures prices have recently traded near 61 a barrel, and gasoline prices have dropped to an average of about 2.43 a gallon.
Exxon Mobil, the world's biggest publicly traded oil company, said its net income amounted to 1.77 per share for the July-September period, up from 9.92 billion, or 1.58 per share, a year ago.
The results surpassed the expectations of Wall Street analysts. On average, analysts expected the company to earn 1.59 per share in the quarter.
Exxon Mobil shares rose 61 cents to 71.62 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Revenue fell to 99.59 billion from 100.72 billion from a year ago, which saw then-record oil prices because of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Still, Exxon's revenue for the three-month period was greater than the annual gross domestic product of some major oil producing nations, including the United Arab Emirates ( 98.1 billion) and Kuwait ( 52.76 billion), according to statistics maintained by the Central Intelligence Agency.
More than two-thirds of Exxon Mobil's profits come from oil and natural-gas production outside the U.S., with rising production in Africa, the Middle East and Russia consistently offsetting declining output in the United States, Canada and Europe.
Another major international oil company, Royal Dutch Shell PLC said its third-quarter profit fell 34 percent to 5.94 billion even as revenues rose 10 percent to 84.3 billion. But the Anglo-Dutch company's operating profit rose as higher oil prices outweighed worsening refining margins.
Earlier this week, ConocoPhillips reported its profit rose 2 percent to 3.88 billion in the third quarter while another major oil company, BP PLC, said its earnings fell 3.6 percent to 6.23 billion.