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Exxon Mobil profit jumps to second highest level ever in U.S.

Exxon Mobil Corp. said Thursday it earned $10.36 billion in the second quarter, the second largest quarterly profit ever recorded by a publicly traded U.S. company.

The earnings figure was 36 percent above the profit it reported a year ago. High oil prices helped boost the company’s revenue by 12 percent to a level just short of a quarterly record.

Exxon Mobil’s report comes a day after another large U.S. oil company, ConocoPhillips, said it earned more than $5 billion in the quarter and at a time when many drivers in the U.S. are paying $3 for a gallon of gas.

Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest oil company by market capitalization, said earnings amounted to $1.72 per share in the April-June quarter compared with a profit of $7.64 billion, or $1.20 per share, a year ago.

The results topped Wall Street expectations but came in behind Exxon Mobil’s record profit of $10.71 billion set in the fourth quarter of 2005.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected the company to earn $1.64 per share.

Revenue rose to $99.03 billion from $88.57 billion in the prior-year quarter. That was short of Exxon Mobil’s record third-quarter revenue of $100.72 billion. Its shares rose 85 cents to $67.45 in premarket trading. That would top its 52-week high of $67.18.

Exxon Mobil said it spent $4.9 billion on capital and exploration projects during the quarter, up 8 percent from a year ago, while distributing $7.9 billion to shareholders in the form of dividends and share repurchases. Congress has been urging the big oil companies to put more of their profits toward boosting the supply of energy for consumers.

Exploration and production earnings rose sharply to $7.13 billion, up $2.23 billion from the second quarter of last year, a reflection of higher crude and natural gas prices. Production increased 6 percent from a year ago and 9 percent if the impact of divestments and entitlements are excluded.

The company’s refining and marketing segment and chemical business earnings rose also.