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Exxon turns in record-setting profit for 2022

Investments and favorable market conditions supported the company's revenue stream.

Fourth quarter revenue for Exxon Mobil was double the level of rival supermajor Chevron. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI
1 of 2 | Fourth quarter revenue for Exxon Mobil was double the level of rival supermajor Chevron. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Supported in large part by a geopolitical risk premium for the price of oil, U.S. supermajor Exxon Mobil on Tuesday reported annual profit of $55.7 billion, its highest return ever.

Exxon's earnings for the fourth quarter were $12.8 billion, double what rival Chevron turned in during the three-month period ending in December. Annual cash flow for Exxon was $76.8 billion and the company invested some $22.7 billion on its operations last year, in line with expectations.

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Darren Woods, the chairman and CEO at Exxon, said last year's performance was supported by favorable market conditions, though its investment strategy also paid off.

"We leaned in when others leaned out," he said. "Our plan for 2023 calls for further progress on our strategic objectives, which include leading the industry in safety, operating and financial performance."

Exxon said its quarterly performance was supported in part by gains in the price of crude oil and natural gas. Federal data show the price for Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, averaged $100.94 per barrel last year and the price for natural gas was $6.42 per million British thermal units.

Brent on Tuesday was closer to $85 per barrel, while natural gas was around $2.70.

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Energy prices skyrocketed last year in response to sanctions on Russia, one of the world leaders in oil and gas production. Those prices, which for consumers are usually seen in home heating bills and at the gas station, contributed to double-digit inflation in the U.S. economy last year. Frustrated with the burden on his constituents, President Joe Biden said that "Exxon made more money than God."

The president said oil companies like Exxon were realizing huge profits because they were returning more value to shareholders than investing in production.

Exxon's fourth quarter production of 3.8 million oil-equivalent barrels matched year-ago levels and was just 2.8%, or about 100,000 barrels, more than third-quarter levels. Exxon said much of its growth came from the Permian shale basin in the southern United States and offshore Guyana, where it operates alongside U.S.-based Hess Corp.

Elsewhere, Exxon was able to deliver the first cargo of liquefied natural gas from its Coral South project in Mozambique. The company added that it's capturing some of the gas that's associated with oil deposits rather than burning it off, reducing its overall level of pollution.

"We will continue to invest in our advantaged projects to deliver profitable growth, help meet society's growing needs, and reduce emissions in our operations, while providing innovative solutions that help others reduce theirs," Woods said.

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