HOUSTON — Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest publicly traded oil company, said Thursday that record crude prices helped its first-quarter profit climb 17 percent to $10.9-billion — the second-biggest U.S. quarterly corporate profit ever.
The company's refining operations limited its overall earnings growth, because prices for crude oil rose even faster than the increase drivers see at the gasoline pump.
Lower production to start the year hurt, too.
Exxon Mobil, based in Irving, Texas, said first-quarter earnings came to $2.03 per share, up from $9.3-billion, or $1.62 per share, a year ago.
"In an environment of high commodity prices, Exxon Mobil's outstanding portfolio of integrated businesses performed well, allowing us to deliver record first-quarter results," said Henry Hubble, the company's vice president of investor relations.
Investors, however, didn't seem overly impressed, as Exxon Mobil shares fell $4.19, or 4.5 percent, to $88.88.
The company, which produces 3 percent of the world's oil, said earnings at its exploration and output, or upstream, business rose 45 percent, to $8.8-billion, with help from higher oil and natural gas prices. Increased natural gas production was more than offset by lower crude volumes.
Overall production fell 5.6 percent from a year ago.
In a note to clients, Citigroup analyst Doug Leggate said Exxon Mobil's results "clearly disappointed vs. expectations."
Chevron Corp., the No. 2 U.S. oil company, reports first-quarter results today.