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Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM-N), the world's largest publicly traded oil company, posted a lower first-quarter profit on Thursday as its oil and natural gas production slumped more than 5 percent.
The company said in March its oil and gas output would be down about 3 percent this year from 2011, but several large projects due on line would put in on pace to increase production 1 percent to 2 percent on average each year through 2016.
Net profit slipped to $9.5 billion US, or $2.00 per share, from $10.65 billion, or $2.14 per share, in the year-ago quarter.
The profit included gains from asset sales of about $400 million, although Exxon did not record those as extraordinary items.
Analysts had forecast earnings of $2.09 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Exxon's total oil and gas production fell more than 5 percent to 4.55 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, largely due to declines outside the United States.
The drop in volumes reduced profits by $850 million, but was mostly offset by higher global oil and gas prices, which added about $980 million in profits during the quarter, the company said.
Exxon's profits from refining and marketing operations rose as its production increased, although its chemicals business suffered from weaker margins and maintenance at some plants.