DALLAS — High prices for oil and natural gas propelled Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC to their best quarterly results ever today, with Exxon becoming the first U.S. company ever to ring up quarterly sales of $100 billion.
To put Exxon’s performance into perspective, its third quarter revenue was greater than the annual gross domestic product of some of the largest oil producing nations, including the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. The world’s largest publicly traded oil company also set a profit record for U.S. companies by posting net income of almost $10 billion, according to Standard & Poor’s equity market analyst Howard Silverblatt.
Both Exxon and Shell said their performances were buoyed by higher crude-oil and natural-gas prices, even as output suffered due to a busy hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico. The companies noticed slight decreases in fuel demand.
Exxon’s net income ballooned 75 percent to $9.92 billion, compared with $5.68 billion a year ago. The previous oil-industry earnings record was Exxon’s 2004 fourth-quarter profit of $8.42 billion. Revenue grew to $100.72 billion from $76.38 billion in the prior-year period.
At Shell, third-quarter net income grew 68 percent to $9.03 billion, compared with $5.37 billion a year earlier. Revenue at the Anglo-Dutch company rose 8 percent to $76.44 billion.
“We are capturing the benefits of high oil and gas prices and refining margins,” Shell Chief Financial Officer Peter Voser said, referring to the profit margin on each barrel of crude that is refined into gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.
Shares of Exxon rose 3 cents to $56.23 on the New York Stock Exchange, where U.S.-traded shares of Shell rose $1.30, or 2 percent, to $60.80.
Excluding certain items, Exxon’s profit was $8.3 billion, or $1.32 per share, or slightly below the $1.38 per share expected by analysts polled by Thomson Financial.
With oil futures above $60 a barrel for much of the third quarter, Exxon’s profits from petroleum exploration and production increased by $1.8 billion to $5.7 billion. Soaring prices for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel lifted refining and marketing profits by $727 million to $2.13 billion.
However, income at the company’s chemicals unit declined by $537 million to $472 million, a reflection of the higher prices for raw materials.
Exxon said the hurricanes slashed U.S. production volumes by 5 percent from a year ago, while global daily production slipped to 2.45 million barrels of oil equivalent from 2.51 million barrels. By the end of the year, it will cost the company about $100 million after taxes, the company estimated.
Shell said its adjusted earnings, arrived at by stripping out the fluctuating value of petroleum, was $7.37 billion, sharply higher than analysts’ forecasts.
Shells profits from exploration and production increased by $2.6 billion to $5 billion in spite of an 11 percent decline in oil and natural-gas output. Its refining and marketing profit climbed by $201 million to $1.7 billion. Its chemicals business saw profits decline by $251 million to $321 million.
Shell said hurricane damage would cost it about $350 million, although much of the expense would be covered by insurance.
Also today, Marathon Oil Corp. said third-quarter profit more than tripled to $770 million, up from $222 million a year earlier. Most of the profit came from its oil and natural-gas production unit. However, the results fell short of Wall Street’s aggressive estimates and Marathon’s stock dropped $2.23, or 3.7 percent, to $58.85 on the NYSE.