updated 1/31/2005 9:06:36 AM ET 2005-01-31T14:06:36

Exxon Mobil Corp., the world’s largest publicy-traded oil company, said Monday it earned a record $8.42 billion in the fourth quarter and $25.33 billion for all of 2004, as higher prices for oil and natural gas erased a slight decline in production.

Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, just missed $300 billion in sales for the year.

The company said it earned $1.30 per share in the October-December period, compared to $6.65 billion, or $1.01 per share, a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had forecast a profit of $1.07 per share.

Revenue was $83.36 billion, compared to $65.95 billion a year ago.

The Irving-based oil giant made more in both major ends of its business, the exploration and production of oil and gas, and the refining and selling of finished products.

The impact of the high prices for oil and gas could be seen in the increase in profits despite a 1 percent decline in production of oil and a 2 percent drop in gas production.

Chairman and chief executive Lee Raymond said the company “continued its active investment program” in the fourth quarter, spending $4.23 billion on capital and exploration projects. That, however, was a decline from $4.36 billion a year earlier.

The full-year earnings amounted to $3.89 per share, compared to $21.51 billion or $3.23 per share in 2003. Excluding an accounting change and one-time gains, the 2004 earnings would have been $25.88 billion or $3.97 per share, compared to $17.03 billion or $2.56 per share a year earlier.

Revenue in 2004 rose to a record $298.03 billion from $247.74 billion.

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