(ExxonMobil earnings story updated with Exxon performance and production data)
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- ExxonMobil (XOM - Get Report) reported earnings that outpaced Wall Street expectations, a day after BP (BP - Get Report) and ConocoPhillips (COP - Get Report) disappointed investors with bottom line misses and production declines. Higher oil prices buoyed profits from all of the major oil companies, but Exxon also outperformed on the bottom line.
ExxonMobil earned just under $10.7 billion in the first quarter, a rise of 69% year over year with refining margins and higher gas prices among the earnings ballasts. ExxonMobil's earnings of $2.14 per share were ahead of the Wall Street consensus of $2.06. ExxonMobil repurchased $5 billion in shares in the first quarter, another support to earnings per share.
ExxonMobil revenue was in line with estimates at $114 billion.ExxonMobil shares were down by 0.8% at the open on Thursday. ExxonMobil said oil-equivalent production was more than 10% higher than 2010. Refinery earnings ballooned for Exxon, to near $1.1 billion, up from roughly $100 million in the year ago first quarter. On Wednesday, ConocoPhillips reported a production decline in the first quarter from the year-ago period, and said that both its exploration and production (E&P) and refining and marketing (R&M) businesses fell short of expectations, even as rising oil prices buoyed profits. ConocoPhillips shares declined by 3% on Wednesday. ConocoPhillips and BP also beneftted, like all oil companies, from rising oil prices and a recent surge in refinery margins as the spread between WTI crude and Brent crude widened. ConocoPhillips' exploration and production adjusted earnings were higher than the year-ago period, but primarily due to higher prices. The issue of replacing lost production has been highlighted as a key issue. All major oil companies have as a No. 1 priority replacing production over the long term. On Wednesday, BP (BP - Get Report) reported replacement cost profit that slipped 2% year over year after having sold off more than $24 billion in assets in response to oil spill liabilities. Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A - Get Report) also provided strong earnings on Thursday, with profits of $8.8 billion and revenue rising to $110 billion. Like BP, Shell reported a decline in production year over year, with asset sales leading to a 2.6% decline. Shell said production would have been flat without the divestitures. Both BP and Royal Dutch Shell also faced higher taxes after the U.K. government implemented a new tax policy for North Sea assets. Royal Dutch Shell said it would cancel some projects in the North Sea as a result of the tax change. -- Written by Eric Rosenbaum from New York. Readers Also Like: >> Is Obama's Oil Manipulation Crusade for Real? >> 8 Stocks for the Coming Oil Sands Boom