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NEW YORK -- Soaring energy demand and tightening supplies worked in Exxon Mobil Corp.'s favor to push up crude oil and natural gas prices and lift second quarter earnings 39 percent, reported the Wall Street Journal.
With its huge size, consistently strong earnings, global diversity and strong balance sheet, ExxonMobil is viewed as the bellwether for a cyclical industry that has enjoyed an unusually long stretch of soaring profits as oil prices have topped $35 per barrel consistently for the past year, touching a new record of $43 this week.
Of longer-term interest to investors, ExxonMobil has also led the industry in its effort to develop new projects to shore up production as oil becomes more difficult to find and more expensive to produce. In a sign that its $15 billion-a-year capital investment program is beginning to pay off, ExxonMobil's overall oil and gas production rose 1.4 percent in the second quarter, capping a slow but steady rise from a year earlier when it reported no growth.
Oil companies have been struggling to replace production declines in maturing oil fields. ExxonMobil and its peers have been pursuing a combination strategy of exploring in more remote regions, squeezing more oil out of the ground with new technology, and simply buying production through mergers or stakes in other companies.
Britain's BP plc reported earlier this week that its second-quarter production rose 14 percent due to its merger with Russia's TNK. Without TNK, BP production would have been down 7 percent. ConocoPhillips, which also is eyeing a Russian deal, reported that its production was down more than 5 percent for both oil and natural gas.