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Exxon's Record-Breaking Third-Quarter Profit Nearly Matches Apple's

Exxon's Record-Breaking Third-Quarter Profit Nearly Matches Apple's
Exxon Mobil Corp blew past expectations on Friday, posting a record-breaking quarterly profit that nearly matched that of tech behemoth Apple.
Its $19.66 billion net profit for the third quarter far exceeded recently raised Wall Street forecasts, as skyrocketing natural gas and high oil prices brought its earnings within striking distance of Apple's $20.7 billion net profit for the same period.
Exxon was the largest publicly traded U.S. company by market value as recently as 2013, a position now held by Apple. Exxon shares rose 2% in premarket trading to a new high of $109.80.
Profits at oil companies have skyrocketed this year as rising demand and an undersupplied energy market collided with Western sanctions imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
Exports of gas and oil from the United States to Europe have increased dramatically, promising to set all-time profit records for the industry.
On a huge jump in natural gas earnings, continued high oil prices, and strong fuel sales, the top U.S. oil producer reported a per-share profit of $4.68, exceeding Wall Street's $3.89 consensus view.
"Where others pulled back in the face of uncertainty and a historic slowdown, retreating and retrenching, this company moved forward, continuing to invest," Chief Executive Darren Woods told investors. Its quarterly profits "reflect that deep commitment" as well as higher prices, he added.
Exxon led the way in record gains among oil majors in the second quarter, surpassing Shell Plc and TotalEnergies SE with earnings nearly twice as large from continued bets on fossil fuels as competitors shifted investment to renewables.
Exxon deposited $43 billion in the first nine months of this year, a 19% increase over the same period in 2008, when oil prices reached a record high of $140 per barrel.
Earnings from pumping oil and gas tripled last quarter, while profits from selling motor fuels increased tenfold from the previous year. Natural gas sales to Europe and rising diesel fuel demand drove the company's better-than-expected results.
"The refining businesses - both in the U.S. and international - was the star performer," said Peter McNally, an analyst at Third Bridge.
Rising fuel profits have prompted US President Joe Biden to renew calls for companies to invest the windfall from this year's energy price surge in production rather than buy back their own stock.
Exxon will continue its $30 billion share repurchase program through 2023 while increasing dividends, according to Chief Financial Officer Kathryn Mikells. It declared a fourth-quarter per-share dividend of 91 cents, up 3 cents, on Friday, and said it will pay $15 billion to shareholders this year.
Exxon said its Permian Basin oil and gas production was near 560,000 barrels of oil and gas per day (boed), a record. According to CEO Woods, production for the year will increase by about 20% over 2021.
"We're optimizing and adjusting our development plans," he told analysts, with the full-year production gain below the 25% increase Exxon had forecast in February.
The results were also aided by a nearly 100,000-boed increase in Guyana, where Exxon leads a consortium responsible for all output in the South American country.
However, its exit from Russia reduced its overall production forecast for the year by approximately 100,000 barrels per day. Exxon claimed that its Russian assets had been seized.
"We are going to end up at about 3.7 million barrels a day for the full year," Mikells said, down from a 3.8 million goal set in February.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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