ExxonMobil is staying the course.

The ExxonMobil Corporation reported today that it earned $10.49 billion in the third quarter, the second largest quarterly profit ever posted by a publicly traded American company. The largest on record was also reported by ExxonMobil — $10.71 billion in the fourth quarter of 2005.

So is Halliburton.

Administrative overhead accounted for more than half the costs that a Halliburton Co. subsidiary passed on to the government under a key contract to restore Iraq’s oil industry, a figure that critics said was unusually high.

A report released yesterday by the inspector general’s office overseeing Iraq spending found that at least 55 percent, or $163 million, of $296 million in total costs rung up by Halliburton unit KBR went to expenses such as back-office support, transportation and security. That percentage was significantly higher than it was on work by other firms in Iraq, and experts said it is far above what is typically found on a government contract. …

According to internal government documents released in March, auditors found that the company had repeatedly overcharged the government by, among other things, billing for work it didn’t actually do and paying suppliers more than they were owed. Meanwhile, work schedules slid and company officials balked at requests for accurate cost estimates. At one point, officials threatened to terminate the deal. Instead, KBR — which has received more money from the Iraq war effort than any other firm — was allowed to keep the contract and is now winding up work.