Exxon Mobil has reported net earnings of $6.8bn for the third quarter of 2021 against a loss of $680m a year ago, benefitting from improved fuel demand.

The company’s profit was also boosted by a surge in seasonal gas demand in Europe and the sale of $1bn worth of UK North Sea assets.

The firm’s income before income taxes stood at $9.60bn for the quarter ending 30 September 2021, against a loss of $372bn last year.

For Q3 2021, the US-based energy firm’s capital and exploration expenditures stood at $3.9bn. This brings the company’s year-to-date 2021 investments to $10.8bn.

At the end of the third quarter, the company’s gross debt stood at $56.6bn.

Total revenues and other income were $73.79bn for the Q3, an increase from $46.19bn in the third quarter of 2020.

Exxon also reported cash flow from operating activities of $12.1bn. This was used to fund capital investments, dividend and debt reduction, the company said.

Oil-equivalent production for the company in the third quarter was 3.7 million barrels per day.

In a press statement, the firm said: “Excluding entitlement effects, divestments, and government mandates, oil-equivalent production increased 4% versus the prior-year quarter, including growth in the Permian and Guyana.”

Exxon Mobil chairman and CEO Darren Woods said: “All three of our core businesses generated positive earnings during the quarter, with strong operations and cost control, as well as increased realisations and improved demand for fuels.”

Starting in 2022, the US energy firm plans to undertake a share repurchase programme of up to $10bn over the following 12 to 24 months.

The company plans to announce accelerated reduction plans for Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions later this year. It also plans to achieve its 2025 emissions reduction plans by the end of this year.

Between 2022 and 2027, Exxon is planning to invest $15bn to reduce its carbon emissions.