Exxon Mobil’s net income for the fourth quarter 2009 fell by 23% due to low fuel demand during the global financial crisis, which led to losses in its refining business.

The company’s oil and gas output rose by 1.6% in Q4 because of its huge LNG projects in Qatar.

Exxon Mobil’s Q4 2009 net income was $6.05bn, representing a 23% fall compared with $7.82bn in Q4 2008.

The company’s net income for the whole of 2009 decreased by 56% to $19.42bn compared with $44.06bn in 2008.

Exxon’s oil and gas production in Q4 2009 was 4.18 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), representing a 1.6% rise compared with 4.11 million boepd.

Oil and gas output for 2009 was 3.93 million boepd, representing a 0.28% increase compared with 3.92 boepd.

This marginal increase in production was due to a field decline, which counterbalanced increased output from its Qatar projects.

Exxon has also agreed to take over XTO Energy in a $41bn all-stock deal that is subject to XTO stakeholder approval and regulatory clearance.

The deal is expected to strengthen the company’s standing in unconventional natural gas and oil resources development.