ExxonMobil's second -quarter earnings, excluding special items, were up 85% from the year prior, fueled by improved downstream margins and strong chemical results. First-half earnings of $13.9 billion were 60% above the first half of 2009. The chemical segment, which includes the company's plastics businesses, posted earnings of $1.368 billion-$1.001 billion higher than the second quarter of 2009. Stronger margins improved earnings by $840 million and higher sales volumes further increased earnings by $120 million.
Second-quarter prime product sales of 6496 kt (thousands of tonnes) were 229,000 tonnes higher than the prior year primarily due to improved global demand.
Also in the second quarter, ExxonMobil and Synthetic Genomics Inc. announced the opening of a greenhouse facility, which the companies say will enable the next step of research and testing in their algae biofuels program. SGI and ExxonMobil researchers are using the facility to test whether large-scale quantities of affordable fuel can be produced from algae. —[email protected]