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The world’s biggest oil company by market value, Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), today posted a profit of $15.9 billion in the second quarter of 2012, against $10.7 billion a year ago. The mammoth figure, which could be the highest quarterly profit ever, includes $7.5 billion from “divestments and tax-related items.” The $7.5 billion proceeds were mainly from the sale of refining and chemical operations in Japan.
Much of the profit could be attributed to proceeds from sale of assets, which compensated for falling energy prices. Excluding assets sales, profit fell by 21.5 percent to $8.4 billion. Quarterly revenue for the oil giant rose 1.5 percent, to $127.4 billion. According to the company, a worrying factor could be the 5.6 percent decrease in its production of oil and gas from last year. In April only, company had forecasted about a full-year output decline of 3 percent in 2012. To overcome the fears, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Rex Tillerson, plans to invest $37 billion worldwide this year, to add 1 million barrels of new oil production by 2016.
The benchmark for two-thirds of the world’s oil, Brent crude futures, was down 7 percent from a year earlier. According to the International Energy Agency, oil demand from US and China, which together account for one-third of total oil demand, froze at 28.2 million barrels.
Even the gas futures fell 46 percent in New York, which according to the data compiled by Bloomberg, is the lowest quarterly average since 1999. Gas, which is most commonly used in the US, and serves as the second largest source of electricity, has not been profiting for explorers. With state of the art technology and cracking subterranean rock formations, supply is outpacing the demand, resulting in prices falling to the lowest in a decade. A bad luck deal for Exxon, even its acquisition of XTO energy in 2010, which helped it to surpass Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) as the largest U.S. gas producer, has not been able to help it fully, as gas prices since then have fallen 33 percent to about $3.08 per million Btus.
A competitor, Royal Dutch Shell plc (NYSE:RDS.A) (NYSE:RDS.B), also reported its earnings today, with a 13 percent fall in profits. Exxon’s largest U.S.-based rival, Chevron Corp.(NYSE:COX) will report its earnings tomorrow.
Before today, Exxon shares have risen 0.6 percent this year, compared to 6.4 percent increase for Sandard & Poor’s 500 Composite Index. At close yesterday, Exxon rose 0.8 percent to $85.24.