Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) , the largest U.S. oil and natural gas company, reported third-quarter earnings Friday, Nov. 2, of $1.46 a share on $76.61 billion in revenue, crushing analysts' expectations thanks to a booming upstream oil business.

Both the top- and bottom-line results topped estimates of analysts surveyed by FactSet, which put earnings at $1.22 a share on sales of $75.67 billion.

The stock rose 2.1% in premarket trading.

Houston-based Exxon's results top its third quarter showing in 2017 when it reported 93 cents a share in earnings on $66.2 billion in revenue. But Friday's profit beat is the first in the past five quarters. 

Exxon's upstream segment earned about $4.23 billion in the third quarter of 2018 vs. less than $1.57 billion in the third quarter of 2017. 

The company's downstream segment, which includes its refining operations, pulled in $1.64 billion during the third quarter, a slight bump over its third-quarter 2017 profit of $1.53 billion.

Exxon's refining business has been under close watch by analysts and investors in recent months as the company previously cautioned the market over expected refinery shutdowns in the coming quarters as the company works to retool its facilities to process low-sulfur fuels intended to aid the shipping industry in meeting stricter maritime emissions rules. 

The company said Friday, however, that lower planned maintenance and improved reliability in its downstream segment contributed to strong earnings in the third quarter. 

Meanwhile, Exxon's chemicals unit reported $713 million in profit for the third quarter, a greater than 30% drop from its $1.09 billion in chemicals earnings during the same period last year. Exxon had little commentary to add on its chemicals unit's earnings in Friday's statement, other than to say "significant turnaround activities" had begun at its Singapore chemical plant. 

"We are seeing the benefits of integration as we capture value from advantaged feedstock from the Permian and Western Canada for our North American refineries," chairman and CEO Darren W. Woods said in a press release. "The logistical network we've established provides reliable connectivity between upstream production and manufacturing facilities. Operational performance improved significantly versus the second quarter with lower levels of scheduled maintenance and reliability levels in line with our expectations."