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The Boston Globe

Business

Exxon Mobil says its profit is flat

HOUSTON — Exxon Mobil Corp. reported a virtually flat profit for the first quarter Thursday, with strong earnings on its chemical business partly compensating for declines in exploration, production, refining, and marketing.

Exxon, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, reported net income of $9.5 billion, a $50 million increase from the first quarter in 2012, which analysts attributed to a gradual shift from drilling for natural gas to drilling for more profitable oil. Overall gas and oil production volumes fell 3.5 percent, although that trend is expected to reverse by the end of the year because of the imminent startup of the Kearl oil sands project in western Canada.

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