Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) reported its earnings before opening bell this morning, coming out ahead of even the bullish expectations of analysts on earnings. The company reported earnings of $9.5 billion or $2.12 per diluted share. That’s a 6 percent increase. Analysts were expecting earnings of $2.04 per share on revenue of $119.34 billion.

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Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM)’s chemicals business helped push its earnings higher. In chemicals alone, the company reported $1.137 billion in earnings, an increase of $436 million compared to the same quarter a year ago. Exxon Mobile attributed higher margins, mostly in commodities, with helping to push earnings higher.

Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) spent $11.8 billion on capital and exploration expenditures, including the $3.1 billion acquisition of Celtic Exploration Ltd. The company’s oil-equivalent production fell 3.5 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago.

The company returned $7.6 billion to shareholders during the first three months of the year through share buybacks and dividends. It bought back $5 billion worth of its outstanding shares and paid out dividends of 57 cents per share—an increase of 21 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago.

Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) and Rosneft also agreed to expand their 2011 agreement to about 600,000 square kilometers of additional exploration acreage in the Russian Arctic. The expansion of the partnership has been under consideration since earlier this year.

The company has also been acquiring other gas and oil feeds in North America and expanding exploration in other areas, including the Gulf of Mexico, Africa and Russia. Exxon said its global output will drop 1 percent this year, compared to a 5.9 percent decline last year.

As of the moment of this writing, shares of Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) were down .37 percent in pre-market trading.