Jan. 31, 2012 at 8:31 AM ET
ExxonMobil Corp. posted fourth-quarter net income Tuesday of $9.4 billion, up 2 percent from the same quarter a year ago and slightly above market expectations, helped by rising crude oil prices.
It's also more money than The Bahamas' annual GDP, according to the CIA Factbook.
The net income (excluding special items) equates to $1.97 a share, up from $1.85 per share in the comparable quarter. Revenue for the largest U.S. oil company rose 16 percent to $121.61 billion. Analysts expected earnings of $1.96 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Oil companies around the world benefited from a jump in oil prices. Crude futures traded in New York jumped about 25 percent to end the fourth quarter at $98.83 per barrel. Brent prices gained 5 percent during the quarter.
Fourth-quarter production of natural gas and crude oil dropped 9 percent, which Barclays Capital analyst Paul Cheng said might have been partly caused by reduced European natural gas sales due to warm weather.
"Even taking this into consideration, production volume was disappointing," Cheng wrote in a note to investors.
While full-year 2011 output rose 1 percent, capital expenditure was at the top of Exxon's multi-year guidance range, at a record $36.8 billion, and oilfield spending generally is seen rising even further this year.
Spending billions more just to maintain steady output has become a running theme for the world's major oil companies. Chevron Corp increased its 2012 capital spending plans to $32.7 billion after its 2011 budget came in $3 billion higher than originally expected.
Reuters contributed to this report.