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ExxonMobil posts surprising quarterly profits

ExxonMobil has surprised Wall Street by posting higher than expected profits and revenue for the third quarter, despite an overall drop in oil and gas production.

The oil major, which also makes lubricants like Mobil Vactra 4 for Mobil distributors, managed to reverse the trend of reporting disappointing results in previous quarters. Its quarterly profits jumped to $6.24 billion, a 57% increase. In a Refinitiv survey, analysts had predicted per-share earnings of $1.23, but actual earnings came in at $1.46 per share.

While higher oil prices partially explain the company’s jump in profits despite a production drop, the company’s ongoing operations in the prolific Permian Basin also contributed. The oil giant increased its liquids production there by 57%, having previously announced it would reduce gas production to focus on crude oil, which has a greater value. ExxonMobil also benefited from one-off tax impacts.

In a statement, Darren Woods, Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, said:

“We’re pleased with the increase in production from the second quarter of 2018 recognizing it reflects contributions from just one of our key growth areas, the Permian. We expect to continue to increase volumes over time as we ramp up activity in the Permian and new projects start up.”

In less positive news, the company announced that unexpectedly complicated maintenance at its international refineries was weighing on profits. This is due to the refineries being upgraded to be capable of refining the low-sulphur fuels need by the shipping industry to meet strict new rules on maritime emissions.

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