- Title: USA/FILE: Exxon reaches highest profit in U.S. history
- Date: 2nd February 2007
- Summary: VARIOUS OF A WOMAN FILLING GAS AT THE EXXON STATION GAS PRICES LISTED AT THE EXXON STATION EXXON STATION
- Embargoed: 17th February 2007 12:00
- Topics: Industry,Energy
- Reuters ID: LVA2OV47IWIGBKRVE66E0PICQNJV
- Story Text: Exxon Mobil Corporation posted lower fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday (February 1) on weaker natural gas prices and shrinking gasoline profits, but earnings for the full year 2006 were an eye-popping $ 39.5 billion, the highest in U.S. history.
The decline in quarterly profit was the first for Exxon Mobil since the January-March period of 2004. In the interim, it enjoyed huge profits thanks to a wild bull market in crude oil; oil prices more than doubled and the company reaped profits of over $85 billion.
Its full year revenue was about $377.64 billion, larger than the economy of Switzerland, the seventeenth largest economy in the world in 2005.
Exxon Mobil also held the old U.S. record for annual corporate earnings -- $36.13 billion (USD) in 2005.
Exxon Mobil and other U.S. oil companies have been at the centre of a firestorm in Washington due to their massive profits over the past two years. After taking over Congress this year, Democrats have quickly moved to roll back industry tax breaks and aim to force the companies to pay more drilling royalties.
But the company said its earnings were not out of line given the billions of dollars it invests around the globe.
Fadel Gheit, the Senior Energy Analyst for securities firm Oppenheimer, supported Exxon, saying earning a profit is what companies are in business to do.
"There is nothing wrong with making a profit. Exxon is run for its share-holders, its customers, so obviously they are very good citizens. I don't see any reason as to why we should worry about Exxon profits. Politically however, some politicians might obviously take a stab at Exxon but the fact of the matter, they have been trying for the last 20 years and unsuccessfully to nail Exxon as a factor in higher gasoline prices in the pump or higher oil prices in general," he said.
Drivers at an Exxon gas station in Manhattan said they felt frustrated and while the petrol giant continues to rake in profits, consumers were feeling the pinch of high gas prices.
"It's definitely price gouging. They know people are going to buy gas regardless, so I think there should definitely be some kind of regulation where they at least lower the prices a little bit more. It's really hurting everybody but everybody needs to buy gas," said Angel Pardes, from New York.
"I think it's very terrible. It's not fair especially when you have a family and I have three children to take care of, so it just doesn't really help someone like myself at all. I think they should be doing the right thing and looking after the consumers also, not just themselves," said Ioki Daniello, also from New York.
Maria Hormata, a taxi driver in Manhattan, said she was dissatisfied over empty promises made by politicians.
"We feel frustrated because they promised to lower the gas, right? We feel frustrated, I feel frustrated," said Hormata.
Exxon and other U.S. oil companies have been at the center of a firestorm in Washington due to their massive profits over the past two years. After taking over Congress this year, Democrats have quickly moved to roll back industry tax breaks and aim to force the companies to pay more drilling royalties.
On a conference call with investors, Exxon Mobil said its refinery maintenance schedule was a little bit heavier than usual in 2006 and expects to do a similar amount of work in 2007.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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