Business

Summer of pain at the pump was very good to Exxon Mobil

HOUSTON — Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest publicly traded oil company, reported income Thursday that shattered its own record for the biggest profit from operations by a U.S. corporation, earning $14.83 billion in the third quarter.

Yet numbers contained within the company's most recent financial report revealed production numbers that continue to sag, and shares slipped 3 percent in midday trading.

The Texas-based company has reported unprecedented back-to-back quarters, the end of the most recent coinciding with a rapid plunge in crude prices. Benchmark oil prices fell $2.91 to $64.59 Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, about 56 percent off record highs in July.

Exxon said net income jumped nearly 58 percent to $2.86 a share in the July-September period. That compares with $1.70 a share on $9.41 billion a year earlier.

The previous record for U.S. corporate profit was set in the April-July quarter, when Exxon Mobil earned $11.68 billion.

Revenue rose 35 percent to $137.7 billion.

Oil producers are coming off a quarter during which crude prices reached an all-time high of $147.27 — and their profits have reflected it.

But crude prices have tumbled from summer highs, and the global economic malaise has raised questions at least into 2009 about energy demand.

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