4-11-08 by dugan
Maybe you can only afford to fill your gas tank halfway these days, but I’m sure Big Oil is thanking you. A Bloomberg survey of the profit landscape looks like an economic refugee zone, until the very end: "Energy companies led the quarter’s winners… Earnings of the group probably rose 23 percent."
The analysts predict Exxon’s per-share profit will be up 28%, to $2.08 a share from $1.62 a year ago. If that kind of profit increase continues, Exxon’s yearly 2008 profit will be $52 billion, up from 2007’s record $40.6 billion.
Exxon must think it’s worth the cost: a faltering economy, spiraling food and fuel prices, families hitting their credit card limits just to fill the tank. It rewarded CEO Rex Tillerson with an 18% raise to $21.7 million for 2007.
Given these numbers, how does Big Oil block every move by Congress to take back just a fraction of its billions in taxpayer subsidies? Here’s part of the the answer, from OpenSecrets.org: Exxon alone spent $17 million on federal lobbying last year, right behind Big Pharma and Big Medicine. The oil and gas industry as a whole spent $83 million to persuade our government that its profit is more important than your shredded family budget.
It’s also why President Bush refuses to stop buying millions of barrels of oil from Exxon and friends for his "strategic reserve," and won’t cut oil and fuel prices by releasing some of that taxpayer-funded reserve. We wrote him a letter today about that, but I suspect Exxon has ways to distract him from our message.