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Exxon Mobil profits top estimates on better oil output

Shares of Exxon Mobil rose after better-than-expected quarterly profits.
Shares of Exxon Mobil rose after better-than-expected quarterly profits. GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File
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New York (AFP)

Exxon Mobil's fourth-quarter profits that topped Wall Street expectations Friday following a rise in oil and gas production and a better performance in refining.

Net income fell to $6.0 billion, a drop of 28.4 percent from the same quarter of 2017, which was boosted by a one-time tax gain.

But revenues rose 8.1 percent from a year earlier to $71.9 billion.

Crude oil production climbed, with growth coming especially from oil projects in the US and Asia, which more than offset declines in worldwide gas production.

Chief Executive Darren Woods highlighted Exxon Mobil's investment in shale developments in the Permian Basin in Texas as a key growth area, bringing economies of scale to an activity often developed by smaller companies.

"We're taking a very different approach, putting a long-term strategy in place," Woods said in an interview with CNBC.

Another bright spot was refining, processing crude oil into gasoline and other petroleum products.

The company notched much higher refining profits due to lower downtime at US plants and gains from asset sales, including the divestment of a plant in Sicily, Italy to Algerian state energy firm Sonatrach.

Exxon Mobil shares rose 2.5 percent to $75.09 in pre-market trading.

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