Exxon Mobil profit plunges

NEW YORK — The world’s largest publicly traded oil company said Thursday that oil production is bouncing back with crude prices.

NEW YORK — The world’s largest publicly traded oil company said Thursday that oil production is bouncing back with crude prices.

A worldwide glut in petroleum supplies may yet cool the latest surge in oil, squeezing refiners and keeping profits in oil patch well below their peak last year or even the past several years.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE:XOM) reported that profits from July to September dropped 68 per cent to US$4.73 billion, or 98 cents per share. The results were the best of the year so far, but they’re less than a third of what Exxon earned in the same period of 2008, when crude prices spiked above US$147 a barrel.

In fact, excluding the previous two quarters this year, Exxon has not reported quarterly profits this low in at least the past four years.

The Irving, Tex.-based company gets most of its income from oil and gas production, and in the third quarter it increased production by three per cent to 3.69 million barrels of oil equivalent output per day. Yet the returns are not as good because crude fetched an average of $50 less per barrel when compared with the year-ago period.

Exxon has operations around the world, including Canada, where it owns about 70 per cent of Calgary-based Imperial Oil Ltd. (TSX:IMO), a major oilsands producer, gasoline refiner and marketer with a string of Esso-branded gasoline stations across the country.

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