Exxon Mobil Corp's profit rose 41 percent in the third quarter, slightly ahead of Wall Street estimates, as gains in crude oil prices and higher refining margins boosted results.

Exxon, the world's largest publicly traded oil company, reported a profit of $10.33 billion, or $2.13 per share, up from $7.35 billion, or $1.44 per share a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of $2.12 per share, according to data from Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Oil and natural gas production fell 4 percent in the quarter, the Irving, Texas, company said on Thursday.

Shares of Exxon rose to $82.39 before the start of regular trading, up from a New York Stock Exchange close of $81.07.

(Reporting by Anna Driver in Houston, editing by Dave Zimmerman)