North Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp. said Thursday its second quarter income nearly doubled to $7.56 billion as oil prices increased from last year.
It's Exxon's highest quarterly profit since the $7.82 billion earned in the last three months of 2008.
Exxon set a record for quarterly earnings in the U.S. of $14.83 billion in the third quarter of 2008 after oil prices spiked to near $150 per barrel that summer. Oil prices dropped dramatically as the global recession took hold, and Exxon's profits followed, hitting a six-year low in the second quarter of 2009.
The world's largest publicly traded oil company said earnings rose to $1.60 per share in this year's second quarter, from $3.95 billion, or 81 cents per share, in the year-ago period.
Revenue increased 24 percent to $92.5 billion.
Analysts had expected quarterly earnings of $1.46 per share on revenue of $98.5 billion.
Unlike rivals BP PLC and Shell Oil, Exxon Mobil has a relatively small portion of its global business in the Gulf of Mexico, where BP's giant oil spill has halted deepwater exploration.
Exxon earned the majority of its income from exploration and production operations in foreign waters, particularly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Exxon's results showed a jump in profits across its exploration and production, refining and chemicals businesses.
BP reported a quarterly loss of $17 billion, including a $32.2 billion charge for the spill, and Shell reported a $56 million charge from idling rigs in the Gulf, though its quarterly profits were up 15 percent to $4.39 billion.
Shell and BP also want to cast off a variety of assets. Shell plans to sell $7-8 billion of assets next year, and BP said it would shed $30 billion of assets in the next 18 months.
Despite its small footprint in the Gulf, Exxon is taking the lead in an industry effort to handle future oil spills in U.S. waters. It announced plans to build a $1 billion network of emergency responders that can fix offshore oil spills in water as deep as 10,000 feet.
The Irving, Texas, oil company increased production of oil and natural gas by 8 percent as prices for each rose. The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the industry benchmark, jumped 31 percent in the second quarter to a daily average of $78.16 per barrel. Natural gas prices rose 14 percent to an average of $4.35 per million Btu.
During the period, Exxon completed the acquisition of natural gas producer XTO Energy. The deal, valued at $29 billion, immediately makes Exxon the largest natural gas company in the U.S.
Exxon shares added 63 cents at $61.54 in morning trading.