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    Earnings Roundup: ExxonMobil, Valero

    Companies report earnings increase despite lower oil prices.

    NEW YORK -- The first quarter of 2007 shows promise for two major oil companies -- ExxonMobil and Valero -- as the two reported profit increases of 10 percent and 35 percent, respectively, despite lower oil prices.

    Net income for ExxonMobil, the world's largest public oil company, grew 10 percent to $9.3 billion in the first quarter, thanks to higher refining, marketing and chemical profit margins that more than offset lower crude oil and natural gas prices, The Associated Press reported.

    Revenue for the company fell to $87.2 billion compared to $88.9 billion a year earlier, due to lower oil and natural gas prices at the start of 2007.

    "In the first quarter, ExxonMobil continued to actively invest, bringing additional crude oil, finished products and natural gas to market," ExxonMobil Chairman and Chief Executive Rex Tillerson said in a statement.
    The first quarter showed great gains for Valero, which posted a 35-percent increase in profit -- reaching $1.14 billion compared to the $848 million seen in the year-ago period -- due to stronger gasoline and distillate margins, a separate AP report stated.

    Valero also saw revenue decline, by 5.9 percent to $19.7 billion, compared to $20.93 billion in the second quarter of 2006. Operating income also increased from the $1.3 billion seen last year to $1.8 for the first quarter of 2007.

    "We're off to a great start in 2007, as Valero earned the highest first-quarter profits in company history," Bill Klesse, Valero's chairman and chief executive, told the AP. "In addition to the strong margin environment, we benefited from the January commissioning of the expanded crude unit at the Port Arthur refinery, which increased overall throughout capacity at that refinery by 30,000 barrels per day to 325,000 barrels per day of sour crude oil."

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