Gush in oil shares continues


Exxon Mobil’s revenue rose 12 percent to $99 billion, marking the first time in history that a U.S. company exceeded $1 billion a day. Sales swelled as crude-oil prices surged to an all-time high on demand gains and supply disruptions in Nigeria and the Gulf of Mexico.

“Earnings have just been spectacular,” said Barry James, who manages $1.7 billion, including 54,500 Exxon Mobil shares, at James Investment Research in Xenia, Ohio. “Cash flow is going gangbusters.”

Record Quarter

The second quarter is shaping up as the richest three months ever for the world’s six largest publicly traded oil companies. BP Plc, Europe’s biggest producer, on July 25 said net income rose 30 percent to $7.27 billion. ConocoPhillips, the third-largest U.S. oil company, yesterday said its profit jumped 65 percent to a record $5.19 billion.

Based on results from the four companies that have reported earnings for the period and average analyst estimates for the two that haven’t — France’s Total SA and Chevron Corp. of the U.S. — the biggest producers netted almost $40 billion in the quarter, up about 35 percent from a year earlier.

BP and ConocoPhillips, like Exxon Mobil and Shell, exceeded analyst expectations for their earnings.

Oil futures in the U.S., which burns a quarter of the world’s petroleum, averaged $70.72 a barrel during the second quarter, 33 percent higher than a year earlier. Prices touched a record $78.40 a barrel on July 14 and have more than tripled since the end of 2001.

The average U.S. margin on processing crude oil into gasoline and diesel widened 41 percent to almost $16 a barrel, based on futures prices. That topped the record average, set in the third quarter of 2005, when hurricanes lashed Gulf Coast refineries and wrecked wells, ports and pipelines.

Gasoline Rises

Prices for refined fuels rose as demand increased and some companies idled processing plants for maintenance and repairs.

U.S. retail gasoline prices rose 30 percent from a year earlier to a second-quarter average of $2.849 a gallon, according to the Energy Department in Washington. Diesel climbed 26 percent to $2.845 a gallon.

Natural-gas futures traded 4.4 percent lower than a year earlier, at an average of $6.646 per million British thermal units. Warmer-than-normal temperatures in much of the U.S. curbed demand for the heating fuel.

Exxon Mobil took greater advantage of the price gains by increasing production 6.2 percent from a year earlier to the equivalent of 4.16 million barrels of oil a day. BP and Shell had second-quarter production declines of 2.5 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively.

Apache, Petro-Canada

Shares of Exxon Mobil rose 86 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $67.46 at 10:27 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Shell’s London-traded “A” shares rose 2.2 percent to 1,913 pence ($35.66).

Smaller producers also reported profit gains today. Houston-based Apache Corp., the second-biggest independent producer in the Gulf of Mexico, said its profit rose 23 percent to $723.6 million, or $2.17 a share.

Petro-Canada, the third-largest Canadian producer, posted a 37 percent gain in net income to C$472 million ($416.3 million), or 92 cents a share.

Earnings more than doubled at Canada’s Talisman Energy Inc. to a record C$686 million, or 61 cents a share.

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