Exxon Mobil (XOM) - Get Exxon Mobil Corporation Report, the world's largest public energy company, said it earned $4 billion, or 95 cents a share, in the first quarter, compared with earnings of $1.8 billion a year earlier.

The company attributed the earnings, which beat analysts' estimates by 10 cents per share, to improving commodity prices, cost management and refining operations.

"Our results reflect an increase in commodity prices and highlight our continued focus on controlling costs and operating efficiently," CEO Darren W. Woods said in a statement. "We continue to make strategic acquisitions, advance key initiatives and fund long-term growth projects across the value chain."

A consensus of analysts surveyed by FactSet expected Exxon to report earnings of 85 cents a share on $66.4 billion in revenue for the first quarter. 

Exxon reported total revenues of $63.3 billion and upstream income of $2.3 billion, which it said was improved on higher liquids and gas realizations. 

The oil major's downstream segment recorded $1.1 billion in earnings, while the chemical unit earned $1.2 billion during the period. The downstream business benefited from increased refinery throughput, while the chemicals segment was negatively impacted by lower margins. 

On all three segments, Exxon beat some company followers' expectations.

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Barclays analysts, who were below the Street's consensus on earnings at 79 cents a share, called for Exxon's upstream income to come in at $2 billion, or $5.1 per barrel of oil equivalent, compared to $1.39 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016 and $2 billion in the first quarter of 2016.

The company watchers anticipated downstream earnings of $793 million, compared to $1.24 billion in the fourth quarter and $906 million in the first quarter of 2016.

And Barclays expected the chemicals segment to report $1.05 billion in income, up 21% quarter over quarter and down 22% year over year.

Moving to the conference call, which is set for 9:30 a.m. EDT, analysts will likely push the envelope on the Treasury Department's denial of Exxon's waiver from U.S. sanctions on Russia.

The oil major reportedly applied for the waiver in a bid to resume its joint venture with Russian state oil giant PAO Rosneft. Reports emerged that the company had been seeking U.S. permission to drill with Rosneft in several areas banned by sanctions and applied for a waiver recently to proceed in the Black Sea.

The Trump administration said April 21, however, that it would not grant a waiver from Russian sanctions to Exxon Mobil or any other energy companies.

Exxon's largest competitor, Chevron (CVX) - Get Chevron Corporation Report, also reports earnings Friday, with a conference call set for 11 a.m.