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ExxonMobil – Oil Watchdog http://oilwatchdog.org Insider news and analysis from America's top Consumer Advocates. Fri, 08 Oct 2010 00:37:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 Blame Exxon for Housing Crisis, Too http://oilwatchdog.org/blame-exxon-for-housing-crisis-too/ http://oilwatchdog.org/blame-exxon-for-housing-crisis-too/#respond Tue, 30 Nov 1999 00:00:00 +0000 http://server11.fusednetwork.com/~oilwatch/2008/05/blame-exxon-for-housing-crisis-too/ 5-22-08 by dugan

The link between skyrocketing oil prices and food prices, for instance, or airline bankruptcies, is obvious and immediate. But the housing crisis? A new study makes the case: a direct correlation between commuting distances and collapsing prices. The group CEOs for Cities, which encourages urban revitalization, says:

A new analysis shows that high gas prices are not only implicated in
the bursting of the housing bubble, but that the higher cost of
commuting has already re-shaped the landscape of real estate value
between cities and suburbs. Housing values are falling fastest in
distant suburban and exurban neighborhoods where affordability depended
directly on cheap gas.

A news release has the short version and the study itself (big pdf alert) has the data and backup. 

Here’s what we used to call in the news business the "nut paragraph"–no, not crazy talk, but the heart of the matter: 

The run-up in gasoline prices has re-written the calculus of suburban housing economics in two key ways.  First, there has been an income effect:  suburban households spend more of their income on transportation and gas and have therefore taken the biggest hit to their budgets.  As a result, they have less income to spend on housing.  Second, there has been a price effect:  because living in distant suburbs requires more driving, potential buyers are now willing to bid less for houses at the suburban fringe.

Yeah, in 1990, with gasoline just above $1.00 a gallon, that 4-bedroom 2-bath out in the fringe ‘burbs made economic sense. At $4.00 a gallon, even $3.00, it can be a choice between commuting and falling behind on the mortgage.

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Brits' Cold Shoulder to Exxon http://oilwatchdog.org/brits-cold-shoulder-to-exxon/ http://oilwatchdog.org/brits-cold-shoulder-to-exxon/#respond Tue, 30 Nov 1999 00:00:00 +0000 http://server11.fusednetwork.com/~oilwatch/2008/05/brits-cold-shoulder-to-exxon/ 8-19-08 by dugan

The shareholder revolt against Exxon is going global. Four big institutional investors in Britain have joined a shareholder resolution demanding that Exxon have an independent chairman of the board, and the new support should bring the chance of passage to about 50-50. Currently, the chairman title is just another perk for CEO Rex Tillerson, whose attitude is from aloof to hostile about renewable energy and climate change. Exxon faces numerous shareholder rebellions at its annual meeting May 28 in Dallas. Another significant one by pension funds and other large investors seeks to fire board member Michael Boskin for ignoring the investors’ multiple requests for a meeting on climate issues.

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Climate Heat on Exxon http://oilwatchdog.org/climate-heat-on-exxon/ http://oilwatchdog.org/climate-heat-on-exxon/#respond Tue, 30 Nov 1999 00:00:00 +0000 http://server11.fusednetwork.com/~oilwatch/2008/05/climate-heat-on-exxon/ 5-13-08 by dugan

Oh, man, I wish I had a share of Exxon. The shareholder meeting May
30 is going to be a show. A group of big institutional investors,
mostly public pension funds, has filed notice that it will formally campaign to oust board member Michael Boskin. The investors say he refused repetedly to
even meet with them about developing a corporate climate change policy.
How dumb can a company get, refusing to sit and talk with its biggest
investors?

These trillion-dollar investors have been pushing the company
for a couple of years to develop a climate change policy and make it
part of Exxon’s business plan. No luck. Now they’ve stepped up the
action. An SEC filing disclosed today
by Exxon consists of a letter the investor coalition is sending to
shareholders, listing the reasons Boskin should be  ousted. 

The
group last year announced it would withhold support for the reelection
of Boskin, who was reelected despite the nonvoters. A resolution
demanding that Exxon do more on climate change, however, garnered a surprising 31% shareholder vote.

This year’s communication by the big investors to other shareholders appears to be turning up the heat a substantial notch.

The
shareholder letter is in the name of Connecticut state Treasurer Denise
Nappier, on behalf of other big investors. In the past, the climate
change group has included California State Teachers Retirement System
(CalSTRS), the California state employee benefit fund (CalPERS),
F&C
Management Ltd., Illinois State Board of Investment, New York City
Employees Retirement System, New York State Common Retirement Fund, the
California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, North Carolina and Vermont
State Treasurers, labor funds such as SEIU and AFSCME, and a dozen
other investors.

This year, the effort to demand a climate change policy at Exxon has been joined by the Rockefeller family,
descendants  of Standard Oil/ExxonMobil founder John D. Rockefeller. It
is not clear from the letter whether they are joining the effort to
oust Boskin. 

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Tell a Lie Often Enough… http://oilwatchdog.org/tell-a-lie-often-enough/ http://oilwatchdog.org/tell-a-lie-often-enough/#comments Tue, 30 Nov 1999 00:00:00 +0000 http://server11.fusednetwork.com/~oilwatch/2008/05/tell-a-lie-often-enough/ 5-12-08 by dugan

It’s a flat-out lie when oil companies say they’re only making an
"average" percentage of profit compared to other companies.
Furthermore, journalists shouldn’t be taking the oil industry’s figures
at face value. That’s the conclusion of a well-explained report in Nieman Watchdog
on how oil companies get away with describing their profit as a
percentage of revenue when issuing a press release, then use the
accurate "return on capital" figure when talking with investors.

OilWatchdog took a briefer look at the subject
recently, and the Nieman piece, by Henry Banta, goes into much more
detail. Also, befitting a journalism website, he’s far more critical of
the mainstream media. Banta says:

This is not another piece about oil prices. It is about how the
media cover the oil industry and its political machinations. Over the
past year, and with increasing intensity lately, the oil industry has
engaged in a massive propaganda offensive claiming that its profits are
no higher than many other industries. It makes this claim by comparing
its return on sales with those of other industries. This is
intentionally misleading and deceptive.

The very fact that a major industry is devoting massive resources to
what is nothing more than an outrageous lie should be major news.
Suppose Clinton, Obama, or McCain set out on a campaign of conspicuous
lying? Wouldn’t it be news? Why should an industry with hundreds of
billions of dollars in resources and a political agenda be immune? Why
does it get a pass?

Actually, I can think of several reasons: When the oil companies issue
their profit reports, they discuss only the profit as a percentage of
revenue, ("It’s only 10%!). They don’t reveal the return on capital
(27% last year, industrywide) until their investor presentations later.
So a reporter has a current figure on the profit report press release,
and if he or she wants to discuss return on capital, the only available
figures are from the previous quarter or the previous year. It’s tough
to explain, requires definitions and will make editors ask questions.
If the explanation gets past an editor, then the reporter’s industry
sources will be peeved. I get how hard it is to dispute the oil
companies’ profit percentages in every danged story. So it’s a
brilliant tactic on the part of the oil companies.

That still doesn’t mean reporters should accept without question
Exxon’s propaganda about how the company’s profit isn’t really so
outsized ("Really! Only 10%!), even if it totals $40 billion.

Here’s more from the Nieman story:

In the most basic sense, [profit] it is the reward that the entrepreneurs get
for taking the risks and putting up the money.  Profit is what the
investors get back for putting up money. Profit is not the return on
sales or revenue; it is the return on the dollars invested. It is this
return on capital that enables the market to direct investment where it
will make the most money, and be used most efficiently. It is at the
heart of why we consider our economic system efficient. It is why we
call it “capitalism.”  Comparing the return on sales for firms in
different industries is meaningless.  It tells you nothing to know that
Microsoft earned a 27 percent return on revenue while Verizon earned
only 6.6 percent on its sales. 

By using a return on sales to make comparisons between industries,
the oil industry is engaging in a gross deception. It is simply lying.
No other word works. And the oil firms know better. They certainly do
not talk that way to investors or the financial community  As Peter
Ashton pointed out
on Nieman Watchdog last year (June 15, 2007), ExxonMobil got it right
in its annual Financial and Operating Review for 2006. The quote is
worth repeating:

"The corporation’s total ROCE [return on capital employed] is net
income excluding the after-tax cost of financing, divided by total
corporate average capital employed. [ExxonMobil] has consistently
applied its ROCE definition for many years and views it as the best
measure of historical capital productivity in our capital-intensive,
long-term industry
, both to evaluate management’s performance and to
demonstrate to shareholders that capital has been used wisely over the
long term."

That’s in Exxon’s own words, but not the words it uses when defending its profits in press releases. 

 

 

 

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Exxon Is Holdout on MTBE http://oilwatchdog.org/exxon-is-holdout-on-mtbe/ http://oilwatchdog.org/exxon-is-holdout-on-mtbe/#respond Tue, 30 Nov 1999 00:00:00 +0000 http://server11.fusednetwork.com/~oilwatch/2008/05/exxon-is-holdout-on-mtbe/ 5-8-08 by dugan

A national lawsuit over water pollution from a gasoline additive was more than half-settled yesterday when four of the five major oil comanies agreed to pay $423 million in cleanup and other costs. Chevron, Shell, BP, Conoco and several smaller companies did what’s right, and will escape years more of litigation costs. Exxon, which can no doubt afford to litigate until the world ends, was the only major holdout.

The suits, being heard in a New York court, involved the gasoline additive MTBE, or methyl tertiary butyl ether, which was mixed with gasoline for cleaner burning in the 1980s and 1990s. The chemical leaked from underground tanks and ultimately polluted groundwater supplies in many states, endangering drinking water. 

Exxon’s response to the settlement was that it was just doing what government wanted, and has no liability. I haven’t seen any news reports on the settlement that challenge this "government made me do it" statement. However, oil companies chose to use MTBE, rather than other clean-air oxygenates like methanol or ethanol, in part because their own chemical divisions manufactured MTBE. And even before MTBE went into use, oil industry insiders were privately warning of its pollution danger.

Excerpts from a long report, linked above, by the Environmental Working Group:

In a 1995 deposition, a top ARCO executive admitted under oath, "The
EPA did not initiate reformulated gasoline…." He clarified that "the
oil industry… brought this [MTBE] forward as an alternative to what
the EPA had initially proposed." [Excerpt | Full document]

By 1986, the oil industry was adding 54,000 barrels of MTBE to
gasoline each day. By 1991, one year before the EPA requirements went
into effect, the industry was using more than 100,000 barrels of MTBE
per day in reformulated gasoline. [View document]
Yet secret oil company studies, conducted at least as early as 1980,
showed the industry knew that MTBE contaminated ground water virtually
everywhere it was used.

Oil Companies Knew MTBE Was a Threat to Water Supplies

Even though MTBE was not classified as a probable cause of cancer in
humans until 1995, refiners knew much earlier that its powerfully foul
taste and smell meant that small concentrations could render water
undrinkable, and that once it got into water supplies it was all but
impossible to clean up. A Shell hydrogeologist testified in the South
Lake Tahoe case that he first dealt with an MTBE spill in 1980 in
Rockaway, N.J., where seven MTBE plumes were leaking from underground
storage tanks. [Excerpt | Full document]
By 1981, when the Shell scientist wrote an internal report on the
Rockaway plumes, the joke inside Shell was that MTBE really stood for
“Most Things Biodegrade Easier.” Later, other versions of the joke
circulated, including “Menace Threatening Our Bountiful Environment,”
or apropos to the present attempt to limit liability, “Major Threat to
Better Earnings.” [Excerpt | Full document] and [Excerpt | Full document]

In 1983, Shell was one of at least nine companies surveyed by a task
force of the American Petroleum Institute on “the environmental fate
and health effects” of MTBE and other oxygenates. Shell’s Environmental
Affairs department replied to the trade association: “In our spill
situation the MTBE was detectable (by drinking) in 7 to 15 parts per
billion so even if it were not a factor to health, it still had to be removed to below the detectable amount in order to use the water.” (emphasis added). [View document]
The survey, the results of which were later distributed to all API
members, asked for information about the number and extent of spills,
chemical analysis of the spill and the contaminated water, and health
effects to people in the community.

Clearly, Shell was not the only company that knew about MTBE
problems. An environmental engineer for ExxonMobil (the companies
merged in 1999), testified that he learned of MTBE contamination from
Exxon gasoline in 1980, when a tank leak in Jacksonville, Maryland,
fouled wells for a planned subdivision. The ExxonMobil engineer said it
was learned MTBE had also leaked into the subdivision’s wells from a
Gulf and an Amoco station. [View document]

 

 

 

 

 

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Chevron’s Record 1st Qtr Profit http://oilwatchdog.org/chevrons-record-1st-qtr-profit/ http://oilwatchdog.org/chevrons-record-1st-qtr-profit/#respond Fri, 02 May 2008 12:22:00 +0000 http://server11.fusednetwork.com/~oilwatch/2008/05/chevrons-record-1st-qtr-profit/
NEWS RELEASE:

Chevron Rides Soaring Crude Oil Prices To Record Profit As Consumers Feel Squeeze At Pump

Santa Monica, CA — Chevron today posted record first-quarter profits
of $5.17 billion while Californians struggled with soaring gas prices
climbing over $4 a gallon. Consumer Watchdog condemned the company’s
profiteering and pointed to Big Oil historical data at the group’s "Oil Profits Monster"database.

Chevron joined the other Big Five oil companies in posting record
first-quarter earnings riding on the cushion of soaring crude oil
prices, Consumer Watchdog said, as it called on President Bush and
Congress to act to cut the price of crude oil, which is largely driven
by speculation in the commodity markets.

The quarter was Chevron’s second best quarter ever. Chevron’s profits
from so-called upstream oil production soared 76 percent to $5.13
billion because of the soaring price of crude oil.  Chevron’s profit
soared 10 percent to $5.17 billion from $4.72 in the first quarter of
2007.  (“Oil Profits Monster” quarterly data and charts for Chevron
will be updated by 11 am PDT.)

The nonprofit, nonpartisan Consumer Watchdog called on Bush to
immediately stop buying market-priced oil for the federal Strategic
Petroleum Reserve, which is at record high levels above 700 million
barrels, and start selling a fraction of the reserve back into the
market. The group and its Oilwatchdog.org project have also called for
Congress to quell market speculation and end taxpayer subsidies to oil
companies (see below).

“We’ve seen proposals for a gas tax holiday from the presidential
campaign trail, but in fact these are little more than political
gimmicks,” said John  M. Simpson, consumer advocate with Consumer
Watchdog (formerly the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights).
“President Bush and Congress must act immediately and take the obvious
steps to end the crisis that threatens not only every consumer but our
entire economy.”

Consumer Watchdog said there is no strategic benefit more important
than using the oil reserve to aid consumers and offset energy
inflation. (See Consumer Watchdog’s letter to President Bush here.
But Bush continues to turn a deaf ear to such calls. At a Rose Garden
News Conference this week Bush refused to stop purchases for the
reserve.  He also blamed Congress for not allowing oil drilling in the
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) even though it would take a
decade before oil could be obtained if drilling were allowed today.

Independent oil analyst Tim Hamilton was also  skeptical of proposals
for a gas tax holiday saying they might be well intentioned, but
wouldn’t work. “The price at the pump is set by the oil companies to
ration the available supplies of motor fuel,” he said. “ If the tax
came off, consumers and truckers would simply be disappointed as the
oil companies raised the price the same amount, effectively
transferring all the suspended tax into the corporate coffers, which
are already overflowing from the record profits."

Chevron said it bought back $2 billion of its own stock.

“This is money that could have been invested in alternative energy
research or capital expansion. It’s wrong to use their excessive
profits to buy shares and drive up the stock price,” said Simpson.
“That only benefits executives whose excessive bonuses are tied to
stock performance.”

The company said its refining profits were little more than break-even
because it could not pass through the soaring cost of crude oil.
Executives from the other Big Five — ConocoPhillips, Shell, BP and
Exxon Mobil — in announcing their results over the last week all said
they had been unable to pass through all costs of higher crude. The
current upward spike in pump prices is unlikely to stop even if  crude
oil prices abate, because refiners are now working to boost profits on
that end of the business.
 
Consumer Watchdog has called for:
 
– Action by President Bush to stop adding to federal Strategic
Petroleum Reserve and sell from the reserve to stabilize and drive down
oil futures price.  Link to CW letter to White House here.
 
– Closure of the “Enron Loophole” in commodity trading regulation. A
regulatory measure in the federal farm bill (S.2058 by Sens. Dianne
Feinstein and Carl Levin) would regulate trading markets to help stop
speculative oil pricing. (See more on Enron Loophole and farm bill amendment here.)
Regulators should also increase the amount of margin funds that traders
must put up in energy markets to help suppress speculation.
 
– Senate approval of an alternative fuels bill (HR 5351) funded by
withdrawing $1.8 billion a year in unjustified taxpayer subsidies to
oil companies. This measure, passed by the House, has not been taken up
in the Senate, where opponents are using a filibuster tactic to block
passage. A similar House measure was removed from the federal energy
bill by the Senate last year under pressure from the oil lobby.
 
– Oversight of refinery operations, including regulation of national
gasoline supplies. In the last decade, the average on-hand supply of
gasoline has dropped from 30 days’ worth to about 22 days. This makes
prices increasingly sensitive to any cuts in gasoline production.
 
Consumer Watchdog (formerly The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer
Rights) is a leading nonprofit, nonpartisan consumer advocacy
organization.
 
For more information, see www.ConsumerWatchdog.org or www.OilWatchdog.org

– 30 –

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Exxon Posts More Record Profits http://oilwatchdog.org/exxon-posts-more-record-profits/ http://oilwatchdog.org/exxon-posts-more-record-profits/#respond Thu, 01 May 2008 10:31:00 +0000 http://server11.fusednetwork.com/~oilwatch/2008/05/exxon-posts-more-record-profits/ NEWS RELEASE

May 01, 2008

ExxonMobil Profits Soar to Record On Speculative Oil Prices While Consumers and Economy Suffer

Santa Monica, CA — Record first-quarter profits, up a staggering 17
percent to $10.89 billion reported today by ExxonMobil, the world’s
largest oil company, came as the result of crude oil profits driven by
unregulated speculative trading, said Consumer Watchdog.  Soaring
gasoline and diesel prices have devastated the U.S. economy and helped
push consumers deeper into debt, yet President Bush and Congress have
engaged in mindless finger-pointing and failed to take obvious steps to
ease the pain.

“With gasoline prices topping $4 a gallon in some cities and averaging
$3.60 nationwide, nobody is surprised to see the latest string of
outrageous profits posted by Big Oil,”  said John M. Simpson, consumer
advocate with Consumer Watchdog (formerly the Foundation for Taxpayer
and Consumer Rights). “But what people cannot understand — and will
not forget — is that their elected representatives are shirking their
responsibility to take obvious steps that will ease the crisis.”

“People are driving less, but for every trip they cancel, rising prices
at the pump more than wipe out their savings,” said Simpson. “They pay
a second time as inflation at the grocery store is driven by fuel
surcharges on every truck delivery.”

The nonprofit, nonpartisan Consumer Watchdog and its Oilwatchdog.org
project have called for action to quell market speculation and cut back
taxpayer subsidies to oil companies (see below), but the most obvious
immediate action is for the White House to stop buying market-priced
oil for the federal Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which is at record
high levels above 700 million barrels, and start selling a fraction of
the reserve back into the market.

At a Rose Garden News Conference this week Bush refused to stop
purchases for the reserve.  He also blamed Congress for not allowing
oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) even though
it would take a decade before oil could be obtained if drilling were
allowed today.
 
“Purchases for the reserve, at these record oil prices, come straight
from the pockets of taxpayers, and by taking oil off the market they
fuel continued speculation,” said Judy Dugan, Consumer Watchdog
research director. “Yet President Bush has turned a deaf ear on pleas
by Congress and consumer advocates to take the small, painless and
beneficial step of curbing this excess. There is no strategic benefit
more important than using the oil reserve to aid consumers and offset
energy inflation.” (See Consumer Watchdog’s letter to President Bush here.)

Exxon’s profits were a record for a first quarter and were the second
highest ever for any U.S. corporation.  Exxon’s 2007 fourth quarter
earnings of $11.66 billion are the all time record. During the first
quarter of 2008 the oil giant piled up profits at the rate of $5.08
million an hour or $84,000 every minute. (See more historical data at Consumer Watchdog’s “Oil Profits Monster” database. Quarterly data and charts for Shell and BP will be updated by 11 am PDT.)

With the announcement of record profits, Exxon also said it had bought back $8 billion in its own shares.

“This is money that could have been used to lower prices for consumers
and invested in alternative energy research,” said Simpson. “Instead the company is taking a short-term, profit-maximizing approach that has even upset some of its most important shareholders.”

On Wednesday descendents of John D. Rockefeller, who founded Standard
Oil, ExxonMobil’s precursor, called a news conference in New York to
say the oil giant is overlooking its effect on the environment and the
future of alternative energy. They also backed a resolution that would
split the roles of chief executive officer and chairman, now held
jointly by Rex Tillerson.

“When America’s first family of oil speaks, ExxonMobil should pay attention,” said Simpson.

Tell ExxonMobil to shift its massive profits away from investing in oil, and towards renewable energy sources!

Exxon’s refining profits did not match the increases from oil sales,
but that was in part because the oil giant is selling its own petroleum
at inflated prices to their own refineries, said Consumer Watchdog. The
current upward spike in pump prices is unlikely to stop even if crude
oil prices abate, because refiners are now working to boost profits on
their end of the business.
 
“When one uses the spreadsheet to compare the price at the pump with
the quarterly company profit reports, it is clear the companies have
inflated bottom lines by raising pump prices far in excess of any
actual increased cost incurring from the highly publicized increase in
the commodity price of crude,” said Tim Hamilton, independent oil
analyst. “Since the average pump price for regular unleaded was back at
$3.11 during the first quarter, next quarter profit reports can be
expected to reflect prices approaching $4 at the pump and set yet
another new record.”

 
Consumer Watchdog has called for:
 
– Action by President Bush to stop adding to federal Strategic
Petroleum Reserve and sell from the reserve to stabilize and drive down
oil futures price.  Link to CW letter to White House.
 
– Closure of the “Enron Loophole” in commodity trading regulation. A
regulatory measure in the federal farm bill (S.2058 by Sens. Dianne
Feinstein and Carl Levin) would regulate trading markets to help stop
speculative oil pricing. (See more on Enron Loophole and farm bill amendment.)
Regulators should also increase the amount of margin funds that traders
must put up in energy markets to help suppress speculation.
 
– Senate approval of an alternative fuels bill (HR 5351) funded by
withdrawing $1.8 billion a year in unjustified taxpayer subsidies to
oil companies. This measure, passed by the House, has not been taken up
in the Senate, where opponents are using a filibuster tactic to block
passage. A similar House measure was removed from the federal energy
bill by the Senate last year under pressure from the oil lobby.
 
– Oversight of refinery operations, including regulation of national
gasoline supplies. In the last decade, the average on-hand supply of
gasoline has dropped from 30 days’ worth to about 22 days. This makes
prices increasingly sensitive to any cuts in gasoline production.
 
Consumer Watchdog (formerly The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer
Rights) is a leading nonprofit, nonpartisan consumer advocacy
organization.
 
For more information, see www.consumerwatchdog.org or www.oilwatchdog.org  
 
– 30 –

 

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Rockefellers: Change Exxon http://oilwatchdog.org/rockefellers-change-exxon/ http://oilwatchdog.org/rockefellers-change-exxon/#respond Tue, 30 Nov 1999 00:00:00 +0000 http://server11.fusednetwork.com/~oilwatch/2008/04/rockefellers-change-exxon/

04-30-08 by simpson

What’s known as America’s First Family of Oil, the Rockefellers, wants Exxon Mobil, the oil giant descended from John D. Rockefeller’s  Standard Oil, to change it is ways. They’re worried the company doesn’t care enough about the environment or developing alternative energy.

Forbes quoted Neva Rockefeller Goodwin, a great-granddaughter of John D. Rockefeller:  "The truth is that Exxon Mobil is profiting in the short term from investments and decisions made many years ago, and by focusing on a narrow path that ignores the rapidly shifting energy landscape around the world, including developing nations."

The Rockefellers are backing four shareholder resolutions that will be voted on at the company’s annual meeting May 28. They held a news conference in New York Today to support the resoultions that would require Exxon to:

 

  • Reduce greenhouse gases from operations and products.
  • Establish a task force to study the effects of global warming.
  • Adopt a renewable energy policy.

  •  Require that the position of chief executive and chairman be held by different people. Currently Rex Tillerson holds both jobs.

 According to Reuters, Goodwin, a Tufts University economist, called on Exxon to reconnect with the forward-looking vision of her great grandfather.

"Kerosene was the alternative energy of its day," Goodwin said. "Part of John D. Rockefeller’s genius was in recognizing early the need and opportunity for a transition to a better, cheaper and cleaner fuel."

It’s certainly true that under Tillerson, Exxon has focused almost single-mindedly on oil.  An outside chairman just might bring a new perspective.

And unlike many good shareholder resolutions this one may have a shot at passing. Last year it received 40 percent of the vote and that was without the public endorsement by the Rockefellers.  Sadly if it does win shareholder approval, nothing may change.  The resolution is advisory and the board can do whatever it wants.

 

 

 

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Exxon Hit For Its Secrecy http://oilwatchdog.org/exxon-hit-for-its-secrecy/ http://oilwatchdog.org/exxon-hit-for-its-secrecy/#respond Tue, 30 Nov 1999 00:00:00 +0000 http://server11.fusednetwork.com/~oilwatch/2008/04/exxon-hit-for-its-secrecy/ 04-29-08 by simpson

Oil giant ExxonMobil is as secretive as its competitors in Russia and China, according to a report just released by Transparency International, a global organization fighting corruption.

"The tragic paradox, that many resource-rich countries remain poor, stems from a lack of data on oil and gas revenues and how they are managed," Huguette Labelle, chairperson of Transparency International, told the BBC. "Companies must do more to increase transparency."

Exxon received the lowest rating with China’s CNOOC and Russia’s Lukoil.

Other Big Five oil companies were rated better. BP, Chevron and Conoco-Philips were all rated "medium" for transparency in their financial dealings. Shell received a "high" rating.

Transparency International said companies should report the revenues paid to individual governments of countries for extraction rights.  With more information available on how the oil companies operate, it would be easier to target corruption, the organization said.

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Conoco's Profit = Higher Gas $ http://oilwatchdog.org/conocos-profit-higher-gas/ http://oilwatchdog.org/conocos-profit-higher-gas/#respond Tue, 30 Nov 1999 00:00:00 +0000 http://server11.fusednetwork.com/~oilwatch/2008/04/conocos-profit-higher-gas/ NEWS RELEASE:

 

Consumer Group Sees Warning in Oil Profit Report that Refining Profits Set to Rise, Spiking Gasoline Prices Further 

 

April 24, 2008

Conoco Phillips’ CEO all but apologized for his company’s 1st quarter
profits today, even though the $3.29 billion total was a record for the
quarter, and the company’s profit on oil exploration and production
alone reached an all-time quarterly high of $2.55 billion. Consumer
Watchdog called this mindset in the oil business evidence of an
industry responding to the expectations of speculative markets, not the
needs of a sagging economy or the long-term health of the industry.
 
“Conoco is the starter McMansion of oil companies, compared to the
lavish estate of Exxon,” Judy Dugan, research director of the nonprofit
Consumer Watchdog (formerly The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer
Rights. “But for its CEO to say that record profits are merely ‘solid
financial results… [negatively] impacted by unplanned downtime’ shows
an industry operating in an economic bubble with no connection to the
pain its prices are causing in the rest of the economy.”
 
CEO Jim Mulva pointed to a drop in refining profits, which at $520
million were less than one-fourth of Conoco’s quarterly record, $2.36
billion in the 2nd quarter of 2007. Yet the drop was largely a result
of the high oil prices that Conoco was charging to its own refineries,
noted Consumer Watchdog. If refinery margins this year had reached the
2007 record levels of nearly $1.00 on each gallon of gas, at Conoco and
other companies, drivers would be paying $4.50 to nearly $5.00 a gallon
at the pump today.
 
“Refiners are now curbing production of gasoline even more than
consumers have cut back on driving, so gasoline prices are now rising
faster than oil prices,” said Dugan. “What drivers and the economy as a
whole can’t afford is an industry bent on having it both ways.”
 
Conoco, which like its larger brethren is awash in cash, noted in its
investor presentation that it would spend the largest single portion of
its 2008 profits to buy back company stock, rather than on exploration
or updating and expanding its refineries.
 
(For extensive, accurate comparison data on oil company profits back to 2000, see the extensive Consumer Watchdog/OilWatchdog “Profits Monster” database.)
 
Conoco is just the first drop in the oil barrel this quarter, said
Consumer Watchdog, and larger giants like Exxon and Chevron are
expected to hit even larger percentage records.
 
Conoco’s profits also showed how diesel fuel, the backbone of food and goods transportation, rose even higher than gasoline.
 
Independent oil analyst Tim Hamilton analyzed the Conoco profit data
for Consumer Watchdog and noted that the wholesale price of diesel rose
95 cents a gallon from the 1st quarter last year, or 27 cents more than
the wholesale gasoline price in the same period.
 
“Even though gasoline and diesel come out of the same barrel of oil, farmers, truckers, and other users of diesel got hit first and hardest,” said Hamilton.
 
Since diesel demand begins in early spring and gasoline demand comes in
late spring through summer, Hamilton expects gasoline to catch up with
and even pass diesel by the end of the 2nd quarter.
 
"It’s a given that we will see $4 at the pump. The  question is, will
we see $5?  If we have so much as a big burp at any refinery in the
West  this summer,” said Hamilton, “$5 per gallon is likely, at least
in California."  
 
To quell the prices of oil and gasoline, Consumer Watchdog has called for:
 
– White House action to stop using taxpayer funds to add to the
Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which is still growing at a rate of 1.5
million gallons a month and is at near-record highs above 700 million
gallons total. President Bush should also release oil from the reserve
into the market, to help quell speculative price spikes.
 
– Closing the Enron Loophole in commodity trading regulation. A
regulatory measure in the federal farm bill (S.2058 by Sens. Dianne
Feinstein and Carl Levin) would help stop speculative oil pricing. This
measure is stuck in a fight over other subsidies in the House-Senate
conference committee. (See more on Enron Loophole and farm bill amendment.)
 
– Increasing the amount of margin funds that traders must put up in energy markets to help suppress speculation.
 
– Senate approval of an alternative fuels bill funded by withdrawing
$1.8 billion a year in unjustified taxpayer subsidies to oil companies.
This measure, passed by the House, has not been taken up in the Senate,
where opponents are using a filibuster tactic to require 60 votes for
passage. A similar House measure was removed from the federal energy
bill by the Senate last year under pressure from the oil lobby. (Find text of HR 5351 here.)

– Oversight of refinery operations, including regulation of national
gasoline supplies. In the last decade, the average on-hand supply of
gasoline has dropped from 30 days’ worth to about 22 days. This makes
prices increasingly sensitive to any cuts in production. Only
government regulation to control the supply of gasoline, nationally and
regionally, will keep supplies adequate to control prices.

– 30 – 

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