updated 7/29/2004 12:07:00 PM ET 2004-07-29T16:07:00

Higher prices for oil and gas led to another record quarter at Exxon Mobil Corp., the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, with profits jumping 39 percent from a year ago.

Exxon Mobil said Thursday it earned $5.79 billion, or 88 cents per share, in the April-June period, compared with $4.17 billion, 62 cents per share, a year earlier. The results matched the forecast of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call. Revenue jumped 24 percent to $70.69 billion from $57.17 billion a year ago.

Oil prices surged again this week — briefly above $43 a barrel for U.S. light crude — on new violence in Iraq and reports that Russian oil giant Yukos might be forced to suspend sales, although its production was not interrupted. Both developments were seen as possibly disrupting production in an already tight world market for oil.

Crude oil futures rose this week to prices not seen since they began trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange in 1983.

Shares of Exxon Mobil rose 34 cents, to $46.15 — near their 52-week high of $46.82 set this month — in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

“They are clicking on all cylinders,” said Fadel Gheit, an analyst for Oppenheimer & Co. “Refining (profit) margins are the best in almost 15 years, oil prices are at record highs, and gas prices are near records. It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Chairman and chief executive Lee R. Raymond noted that second-quarter earnings improved in all three main areas of Exxon Mobil’s business — production, up 39 percent; refining and selling, up 31 percent; and chemicals, up 38 percent.

The largest chunk of earnings, $3.85 billion, came from exploration and production, with more than two-thirds of that coming from outside the United States. Higher income from U.S. refining and marketing made up for a decline in the rest of the world.

Irving-based Exxon Mobil said it earned $11.23 billion, or $1.71 per share, in the first six months of this year, compared to $11.21 billion, or $1.67 per share, in the same period of 2003. Revenue rose to $138.30 billion from $120.95 billion.

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