NEW YORK — Exxon Mobil Corp. said Monday its fourth-quarter net income fell 23 percent as the Irving, Texas, oil giant absorbed a loss in its refining operations, grew its revenue on higher oil prices and boosted production by increasing its spending on capital projects.
Exxon Mobil's profit fell to $6.05 billion, or $1.27 a share, from $7.82 billion, or $1.54 a share, in the year-ago period.
Revenue rose to $89.8 billion from $84.7 billion, as crude oil prices climbed from year-ago levels and production rose.
Exxon Mobil's largest unit, the upstream business specializing in production of oil and natural gas, earned $5.78 billion, a $146 million increase.
Meanwhile, Exxon's huge refining and marketing business swung to a fourth-quarter loss of $189 million from a profit of $2.6 billion a year earlier.
Exxon Mobil chief executive Rex Tillerson said the company faced "difficult global economic conditions" highlighted by "lower refining and fuels margins and lower natural gas realizations (that were) partly offset by higher crude-oil realizations."
For all of 2009, Exxon Mobil's annual profit fell 56 percent to $19.42 billion, from a U.S. record $44.06 billion in 2008.
Still, Exxon will remain the highest-earning company in the S&P 500 index, a rank it has held since 2000 after its acquisition of Mobil Corp. By comparison, Wal-Mart is expected to earn $14 billion for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, while Microsoft earned $14.6 billion in the fiscal year ended in June 2009.