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    ExxonMobil Q4 Earnings Fall

    Company also makes stop in San Diego for its "Dream Tour."

    IRVING, Texas -- Exxon Mobil Corp. reported a 23 percent drop in fourth quarter 2009, to $6.05 billion, compared to the year-ago quarter, due to lower refining fuels margins and lower natural gas realizations, which were partly offset by higher crude oil realizations.

    "Despite continuing difficult global economic conditions, ExxonMobil delivered strong business results and built on our long-term focus," Chairman Rex W. Tillerson said in a statement. "Our financial strength provided us with the foundation to continue investing in new energy supplies to help meet global energy demand and to fuel economic growth."

    Fourth quarter upstream earnings were $5.78 billion, up $146 million from the fourth quarter 2008, thanks to higher crude oil realizations, which increased earnings $1.8 billion, but were partially offset by lower gas realizations that reduced earnings by $1.2 billion. In addition, lower gains from asset sales decreased earnings by $600 million, the company stated.

    Downstream earnings saw a loss of $189 million, down $2.603 million from the year-ago quarter, which was caused by lower margins that reduced earnings $2.2 billion in the fourth quarter.

    The U.S. Downstream division recorded a loss of $287 million, down $267 million from the fourth quarter of 2008.

    For the full year, ExxonMobil saw earnings of $19.28 billion, a $25 billion drop from fiscal 2008. The 2009 earnings included an after-tax special charge of $140 million related to Valdez litigation, while year-ago earnings included an after-tax special gain of $1.62 billion from an asset sale and after-tax special charges of $460 million related to Valdez litigation. Excluding these special items, 2009 earnings decreased $24.640 billion, or 56 percent, to $19.420 billion, the company stated.

    Downstream earnings for the full-year 2009 totaled $1.78 billion, $6.37 billion lower than 2008, due to weaker margins and lower asset divestment activity. U.S. Downstream earnings saw a loss of $153 million, to $1.80 billion.

    In other ExxonMobil news, the company and the Harris Foundation made its first stop on "The Dream Tour, presented by ExxonMobil" 2010 expedition recently, when it visited San Diego's Abraham Lincoln High School, and inspired students and teachers when former U.S. Astronaut Bernard Harris gave a presentation.

    The tour is designed to encourage middle school students to acquire strong math and science skills. The visit included an interactive program by Harris, a demonstration on space and dialogue about achieving goals.

    "It is critical that American students are prepared with the problem-solving skills and tools to tackle challenges they may face in the future. Providing them with a strong foundation in math and science education is imperative, and with The Dream Tour, I hope to inspire students to pursue studies and careers in these fields," said Dr. Harris in a statement.

    This year, The Dream Tour will visit Anchorage, Baton Rouge, Billings, Cleveland, Denver, Nashville, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego and San Francisco.

    "ExxonMobil is focused on the need to attract more of America's students to higher level math and science courses in secondary school. The classes they choose today can make or break their options for the future, and 'The Dream Tour, presented by ExxonMobil,' is one way to expose them to the possibilities," Gerald McElvy, president of the ExxonMobil Foundation, said in a statement.

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