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    Exxon Mobil Quarterly Profit Rises 56 Percent

    Sales increased 28 percent to $76.4 billion.

    NEW YORK -- Exxon Mobil Corp., the most profitable U.S. company this year and last, said third-quarter net income rose 56 percent as oil prices surged and chemicals earnings quadrupled, according to Bloomberg News.

    Net income climbed to $5.68 billion from $3.65 billion a year earlier, the Irving, Texas-based company said in a statement. Sales rose 28 percent to $76.4 billion, the highest quarterly sales ever for a U.S. company.

    Exxon Mobil, BP plc and other petroleum producers are reaping record profits as demand gains in China and elsewhere around the world combine with supply concerns to send crude-oil futures above $50 per barrel for the first time in 21 years of New York trading. Increases in demand and prices spurred a jump in ExxonMobil's chemicals profit to a record $1.01 billion.

    "These are the kinds of conditions that you rarely see in the oil industry," said Gene Pisasale, senior investment officer at Wilmington Trust Corp., which owns more than 7 million ExxonMobil shares. "They're wonderful while they last, and they generally don't last long."

    ExxonMobil had net income of $16.9 billion in 2004's first nine months, exceeding General Electric Co.'s $11.2 billion. Analysts expect ExxonMobil to surpass its record profit of $21.5 billion last year, also the most for any U.S. company.

    Third-quarter profit was the seventh-highest quarterly total for any Standard & Poor's 500 Index member since at least 1993, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Since the start of last year, ExxonMobil has posted five of the 10 most profitable quarters on that list.

    U.S. oil futures this week extended to an all-time high of $55.67 per barrel. Gas futures have almost doubled in price in the past year. ExxonMobil's third-quarter profit from oil and gas production climbed 45 percent to $3.93 billion, the company said.

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