Exxon Mobil, the largest U.S. oil company, said its first-quarter profit soared 69% to $10.65 billion, or $2.14 a share, from $6.3 billion, or $1.33 a share, a year earlier thanks to higher oil prices, improved refining margins and increased natural gas production. Revenue climbed 26% to $114 billion.
The numbers were good enough for Dow component Exxon (XOM) to post its biggest jump in quarterly profits in eight years. Exxon pointed to civil unrest in the Middle East, increased demand from emerging markets such as China and India and the weakening of the U.S. dollar as catalysts behind oil's sharp price increase in recent months.
In an effort to show the earnings increase was the result of more than just higher gasoline prices, Exxon noted that its segment that refines and sells gasoline, diesel and other products in the U.S. represents less than 6% of the company's total earnings, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Texas-based Exxon was cautious in its assessment of high oil and gas prices, noting the last time the average price of gasoline in the U.S. hovered around $4 was in 2008 when oil producers started to see demand erode substantially.
In the first quarter, Exxon's daily production jumped 10% 4.82 million barrels of oil equivalent. The 2010 acquisition of XTO Energy helped natural gas output rise 24%, according to the Journal.