(Originally posted on the NY Times)
Exxon Mobil Posts Largest Annual Profit for U.S. Company

Published: January 30, 2006

Exxon Mobil Corporation said today that its 2005 earnings totaled $36.13 billion, an increase of 42 percent from the previous year. The amount is the largest annual profit ever for an American company.

The earnings come at a time of high gasoline and heating fuel prices that have prompted some political leaders to call for a windfall profits tax on oil companies. But the company said it was reinvesting in exploration and refining capacity to meet the world's need for energy.

"Our strong financial results will continue to allow us to make significant, long-term investments required to do our part in meeting the world's energy needs," the company's chairman, Rex W. Tillerson, said in a statement accompanying the earnings report.

Earnings for the final quarter of the year were $10.71 billion, or $1.71 a share, up 27 percent from the $8.42 billion, or $1.30 a share, in the final quarter of 2004.

The fourth-quarter performance capped a record year for oil companies driven by a surge in crude oil and gas prices. Crude oil prices rose 40 percent last year, driven by rapidly rising demand from economically rising countries like China and India and production problems in oil-producing countries like Nigeria and Iraq.

Total revenues for the quarter reached $99.66 billion from $83.37 in the year-ago period.

Exxon Mobil reported that oil and gas production declined by 1 percent in the fourth quarter. However, the company said that if the lingering effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which crimped production in the Gulf of Mexico and on the Gulf Coast, and other factors are included, production rose 2 percent.

Gas production declined in the fourth quarter to 9.822 billion cubic feet per day from 10.43 billion in the comparable period last year. New gas supplies, the company said, were more than offset by declines in output from older fields, lower demand in Europe and the lingering effects of hurricanes on operations on the Gulf Coast.

Earnings from the sales of chemical products were down $413 million to $835 million, the company said, due mostly to the higher cost of raw materials and hurricane damage.

For the year, the company said, its exploration and capital expenses were $177 billion, an increase of $2.8 billion over the 2004 total. Earnings excluding special, one-time events totaled $33.86 billion, an increase of 31 percent, with all segments of the business contributing to the performance, the company said.

Exxon Mobil stock was up 3.43 percent, to $63.39 a share, in early afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.