US oil giant ExxonMobil said Thursday its first quarter earnings plunged a steeper-than-expected 58 percent from the same period last year to 4.55 billion dollars amid global economic contraction.
Its earnings per share during the January-March period dropped 54 percent to 92 cents per share, lower than 95 cents expected by most analysts.
But company chairman Rex Tillerson expressed satisfaction with the earnings considering the rapid economic slowdown across the globe that has pulled down oil and other commodity prices, and vowed to maintained its long term plans to develop new energy supplies.
"ExxonMobil posted solid first quarter results despite the slowdown in the global marketplace and sharply lower commodity prices," he said.
"In spite of the dramatic changes to the global economic environment, ExxonMobil is maintaining its long-term focus and disciplined approach to capital investment," he said.
The company said its capital and exploration project spending increased five percent from last year to 5.8 billion dollars in the first quarter.
"We are committed to investing in our world-class inventory of projects to develop new energy supplies which are vital to economic growth," Tillerson said.
He also noted that the company had returned significant cash to shareholders in the first quarter, distributing a total of nine billion dollars through dividends and share purchases.