Exxon Mobil profits dive on oil slump

OIL SUPERMAJOR Exxon Mobil slashed its spending outlook for the year yesterday as it reported a 68 per cent slump in third-quarter earnings on the back of a poor trading environment.<br /><br />The world&rsquo;s biggest oil company said its profits fell to $4.73bn (&pound;2.9bn), down from $14.83bn a year ago, as oil prices fell and its refining business struggled in the downturn.<br /><br />Exxon added it expected to spend around $26bn in 2009, flat with 2008, but a cut of $3bn from its original forecast earlier this year.<br /><br />Revenues at the company fell 40.3 per cent to $82.3bn, missing analysts expectations by around $3bn.<br /><br />And quarterly earnings in Exxon&rsquo;s refining and marketing arm were down around 90 per cent year-on-year. <br /><br />Oil and gas output in the quarter went up by three per cent, boosted by several major liquefied natural gas projects in Qatar starting up, Exxon said.<br /><br />&ldquo;We are well-positioned for continued production growth with projects such as QatarGas, RasGas and Gorgon LNG which will contribute additional long-plateau production for decades and provide Exxon Mobil with a strong foundation,&rdquo; Rex Tillerson, Exxon&rsquo;s chief executive said.<br /><br />Earnings from the company&rsquo;s exploration and production arm fell 63 per cent to $4bn.<br /><br />Slumping oil prices have hit energy groups&rsquo; earnings worldwide. Italian group Eni said yesterday its earnings had fallen by 58 per cent, and London-listed oil giants Shell and BP have both reported massive declines this week.&nbsp; The second-largest oil company in the US, Chevron, is due to report today.