Feb 1- The two biggest U.S. oil producers, Exxon Mobil and Chevron, report higher-than-expected increases in quarterly profits, pocketing a combined $17 billion in earnings. Conway G. Gittens reports.
The Daily Digit is $17 billion. The two biggest U.S. oil producers, Exxon Mobil and Chevron, reported higher-than-expected increases in quarterly profits, pocketing a combined $17 billion in earnings. Exxon Mobil, the world's largest publicly traded oil company, reported a 6% hike in quarterly profit on stronger results at its chemical and refining businesses. The company's profit in the fourth quarter was $9.95 billion compared with $9.4 billion a year earlier. Exxon's biggest rival Chevron pocketed $7.2 billion up from the $5.1 the prior year. That boost came from its refining arm, which managed to improve earnings despite a fire that crippled the company's oldest refinery last August. The results included a one-time-gain from a deal with Shell in Australia. Crude oil prices traded mostly between $85 and $90 for all of the fourth quarter, but it was the gush of oil produced from U.S. shale, which gave refinery margins at both companies the extra boost.