Exxon Mobil Corp. said that higher oil prices and improved refining margins boosted its second-quarter profits 41 percent, according to the Associated Press. The largest publicly traded oil company reported earnings of $10.68 billion, or $2.18 per share, for the three months ended June 30. That compares with $7.56 billion, or $1.60 per share, for the same part of 2010. Revenue grew 36 percent to $125.5 billion. It''s the highest profit for Exxon since it set a corporate earnings record of $14.8 billion in the third quarter of 2008. But the results fell short of Wall Street estimates of $2.30 per share. Revenue topped projections of $119.2 billion. Higher oil prices also boosted earnings for Exxon''s European rivals BP and Royal Dutch Shell PLC in the second quarter. Oil and natural gas prices rose during the quarter, and Exxon took advantage of those increases by cranking up production 10 percent. Its production business increased earnings 60 percent to $8.5 billion. Much of that added production was in natural gas, however. Natural gas prices rose less than 1 percent to $4.38 per 1,000 cubic feet during the quarter, while benchmark oil prices rose 31 percent to $102.34 per barrel. The Irving, Texas oil giant said its refining business increased earnings 11 percent overall to $1.4 billion as prices climbed for gasoline, jet fuel, diesel and other petroleum products. Profits dropped, however, for Exxon''s international refineries. Profits also dropped 3 percent to $1.3 billion for Exxon''s chemicals operation because of lower sales volumes and higher taxes.