Another year, another record profit statement from Exxon Mobil, the world's largest publicly traded oil company. The specific mind-numbingly large figure is $45.2 billion, which translates to $8.69 per share. While this figure handily beats the previous record of $40.6 billion that had been set by Exxon Mobil in 2007, these huge profits were recorded mostly in the second and third quarters of 2008 when fuel prices were at record levels in much of the world. Fourth quarter earnings fell by 27%, though it's tough to feel too sorry for a company that still made $84.7 billion in the down economy.

Chevron, second only to Exxon Mobil in size, managed to post a $43 billion profit in 2008, but other smaller oil companies haven't been quite as successful in navigating the sinking global economy. Royal Dutch Shell, Europe's largest oil company, posted its first quarterly loss in a decade after seeing huge profits earlier in the year. The coming year should prove to be a similar challenge for each of the oil producing companies.

[Source: AP via Google | Photo by David McNew/Getty]