ExxonMobil Q3 profits rebound to $6.8 bn on higher oil prices

New York (AFP) – ExxonMobil's profits rebounded in the third quarter on strengthening oil and natural gas prices as the petroleum giant announced a new share repurchase program, according to results released Friday.

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The US oil company reported profits of $6.8 billion, compared with a loss of $680 million over the same period last year amid weak demand during a more severe wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Revenues jumped about 60 percent to $73.8 billion.

The results illustrated the oil industry's profoundly improved outlook compared with the darkest days of Covid-19, when US oil futures briefly dove into negative territory.

"All three of our core businesses generated positive earnings during the quarter, with strong operations and cost control, as well as increased realizations and improved demand for fuels," said Chief Executive Darren Woods.

"Free cash flow more than covered the dividend and $4 billion of additional debt reduction. With the progress made in restoring the strength of our balance sheet, this week we announced a dividend increase maintaining 39 consecutive years of annual dividend growth."

ExxonMobil and other large companies face increased pressures from investors to build up low-carbon businesses amid rising worries over climate change.

ExxonMobil plans to increase spending in lower-emission ventures "by four times over the prior plan," Woods said, adding that some of the money will go to projects that require additional government policy support.

ExxonMobil has especially touted carbon capture, which captures emissions from industrial sources including refineries and chemical plants and injects them deep into geologic formations for permanent storage.

Shares rose 1.4 percent to $65.23 in pre-market trading.