IRVING, Texas, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- U.S. oil giant Exxon Mobil said annual net earnings rose 11 percent to $45.22 billion, despite a 33 percent drop in fourth quarter earnings to $7.82 billion.
The yearly profit was a record for a U.S. corporation, topping the $40.61 billion Exxon Mobil made a year ago.
In the fourth quarter, the energy company recorded per share earnings of $1.55, a drop of 27 percent, as oil prices fell sharply through the second half of the year. Production dropped 3 percent in the quarter, compared with the final quarter of 2007, even as it put a liquefied natural gas facility on line in Qatar during the quarter.
Earnings were hit by a $570 million charge related to damage and slower production caused by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, the report said.
Exxon Mobil distributed $40.1 billion to shareholders in 2008, up 12 percent from 2007.
"Weaker crude oil prices, higher operating expenses, lower chemical volumes and the impact of the Gulf Coast hurricanes were partly offset by higher downstream margins," Chairman Rex Tillerson said in a statement.