(Bloomberg) -- Exxon Mobil Corp.’s second-quarter refining profits surged by as much as $5.5 billion, signaling a season of windfall returns for the fuel-making sector. 

Widening margins added as much as $4.6 billion during the quarter while the value of unsettled derivatives provided up to $900 million more, the Irving, Texas-based company said in a regulatory filing on Friday. 

Exxon has the largest refining footprint of the major oil companies at a time of soaring margins and climbing demand for gasoline and diesel. The world lost about 3 million barrels of daily refining capacity when the Covid-19 pandemic slashed consumption and fuel supplies have been further strained by Chinese export controls and sanctions on Russia.

Meanwhile, sky-high pump prices are intensifying broader inflationary trends and increasing pressure on political leaders to shield consumers. US President Joe Biden singled out Exxon for criticism last month, accusing the company of making “more money than God.”

“The high-frequency demand data we see shows little sign that consumers are unwilling to pay,” Alastair Syme, an analyst at Citigroup Inc. write in a note. “That leaves high product prices/refining margins set to stay for some time,” at least through the first half of next year. 



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