Turning now to the third quarter financial results, as shown on Slide 4. Exxon Mobil's third quarter 2011 earnings, excluding special items, were $10.3 billion, an increase of $3 billion from the third quarter of 2010. Our effective tax rate for the quarter was 47%. Earnings per share for the quarter, excluding special items, were $2.13, up $0.69 from a year ago. The corporation distributed more than $7 billion to shareholders in the third quarter through dividends and share purchases to reduce shares outstanding. Of that total, $5 billion was distributed to purchase shares. Share purchases to reduce shares outstanding are expected to be $5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011.CapEx in the third quarter was $8.6 billion, consistent with the third quarter of 2010. Across our diverse portfolio, we continued to invest in robust projects through the business cycle to help meet global demand for crude oil, natural gas and finished products, while supporting economic growth including job creation. Our cash generation remains strong with $16.3 billion in cash flow from operations and asset sales. At the end of the third quarter 2011, cash and marketable securities totaled $11.3 billion, and debt was $16.8 billion. The next slide provides additional detail on third quarter sources and uses of funds. Over the quarter, cash and marketable securities increased from $10.3 billion to $11.3 billion. The combined impact of strong earnings, depreciation expense, lower working capital and the benefit of our ongoing asset management program yielded $16.3 billion of cash flow from operations and asset sales. Uses included additions to plant, property and equipment or PP&E of $7.5 billion and shareholder distributions of $7.3 billion. Additional financing and investing activities decreased our cash and marketable securities by $0.5 billion. Moving on to Slide 6 and a review of our segmented results. ExxonMobil's third quarter 2011 earnings of $10.3 billion increased almost $3 billion or 41% from the third quarter of 2010. Upstream earnings increased $2.9 billion, while downstream earnings improved $419 million. Chemical earnings were down $226 million. Higher financing expenses decreased earnings $140 million versus the third quarter of 2010, mainly due to tax items. Corporate and financing expenses remained within our continued guidance of $500 million to $700 million per quarter.
As shown on Slide 7, Exxon Mobil's third quarter 2011 earnings of $10.3 billion declined by $350 million compared with the second quarter of 2011, mainly due to weaker crude oil realizations and chemical margins, partially offset by higher downstream margins.Moving next to third quarter business highlights and beginning on Slide 8. During the quarter, we continued to make good progress at Kearl, with construction now 75% complete. The Kearl initial phase development is progressing as planned towards a late 2012 start up. The PNG LNG project is also progressing as planned towards a 2014 start up. Recent milestones include the first weld on the 430-mile gas pipeline, mobilization of the first drilling rig and construction of the LNG plant pipe racks, storage tanks, foundations and jetty. We continue to wrap up activity in Iraq, with 6 drilling rigs operating. Current gross production is approximately 370,000 barrels per day. We are also working with the Ministry of Oil, the South Oil Company and other integrated oil companies involved in the development of the southern Iraq oilfields to advance the commercial and technical basis for the common sea water supply project. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com