Exxon Mobil benefits from high oil prices          Exxon Mobil posted earnings that surpassed analysts' expectations, as an uptick in oil prices fueled its quarterly profit.

The Texas-based oil giant said Tuesday it benefited from significantly higher oil prices in its fiscal fourth quarter. Prices of the company's crude were 27 percent from 2010 between October and December, an uptick that helped fuel a 2 percent rise in net income. Exxon Mobil also noted full year earnings for 2011 hit $41.1 billion, representing a 35 percent jump from the year prior.

Improved supply chain management also kept costs down at the world's largest publicly traded oil company. Exxon Mobil said revenue in the quarter climbed 15.6 percent to $12.16 billion. The company increased investment into oil sourcing, spending approximately $36.8 billion in 2011 on identifying new sources of crude and natural gas, according to The Associated Press.

Nevertheless, production at the company's drilling wells fell roughly 9 percent in the fourth quarter. Analysts noted investment into new drilling locations could take years to pay off, but the company is poised for growth in 2012. Earnings at Exxon Mobil's exploration and production division rose 18 percent. Its refining business took a hit, on the other hand, posting a 63 percent drop in income.

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