FTCR Also Releases “Oil Profit Monster”; Free Public Database Of Each Company’s Profits Since 2000 Will Be Updated Quarterly
Santa Monica, CA — Record quarterly and yearly profits reported today by ExxonMobil and Chevron must trigger action by Congress to control unregulated energy markets, said the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights. Exxon is making more than $75,000 a minute around the clock on crude oil prices that are at unjustifiable levels. Oil companies have opposed legislation to regulate electronic energy trading, even as they deflect blame by pointing to such markets as the reason for crude oil prices that remain above $90 a barrel.
To aid analysis and comparisons of all major oil companies’ profits since 2000, FTCR today released its comprehensive “Oil Profits Monster” database, along with graphics of company-by-company oil profits. Click here to view the database. See more on this powerful tool, including its unique handling of merged companies, companies, below.
Exxon‘s $40.6 billion annual profit and Chevron‘s $17.1 billion come at the cost of an economy tipping into recession, said FTCR. While Exxon makes the largest corporate profit by any corporation, ever, families pay $60 and more for a gas station fill-up and Northeasterners are shelling out more than $2,000 on average for heating oil.
“The 2007 profit of just the three U.S.-based major oil companies comes to $70 billion, even as the federal government is about to pay out $100 billion-plus for economic stimulus payments to families,” said Judy Dugan, research director of the nonprofit, nonpartisan FTCR. “Yet Americans are deeper in consumer debt than ever in large part for high energy costs. If the stimulus mainly pays credit card debt racked up at the gas station, it won’t stimulate anything.”
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While the housing collapse started the economic downturn, energy prices have deepened and will likely lengthen it, said FTCR. Even as demand for gasoline fell nationwide from the previous 4th quarter, crude oil prices produced record quarterly profits. Exxon‘s 4th quarter record profit of $11.7 billion was more than the company’s entire 2002 profit.
“Oil and fuel prices are a cost to every part in the economy, from $300-plus fuel surcharges on long airplane flights to the price of oranges in the grocery store,” said Dugan. “Truckers, rail lines, shipping lines and air transport operators are adding ever-higher fuel surcharges to almost everything Americans buy.”
Efforts by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) merely to legislate more transparency and reporting in electronic energy trading have failed for years, though their bill passed the Senate late last year. The current lack of oversight came about at the behest of Enron in 2000, before its energy traders caused the California electricity crisis. (Click here to see information on the “Close the Enron Loophole Act”.
“Enron‘s legacy is out-of-control oil prices that let hedge funds and oil companies pick our pockets,” said Dugan. “The current administration refuses to even require information from traders whose sole motive is to increase energy prices and keep them high. Speculators are able to create hysteria over Nigerian oilfield thugs rather than responding to actual market conditions.”
Congress also failed last year to pass a proposal in the federal energy bill to recoup about $14 billion in oil company tax subsidies over five years. The companies currently receive an estimated $32 billion five-year total of such subsidies.
“The major oil companies’ incredible profits, boosted by multibillion-dollar tax subsidies to the industry, are ultimately clobbering taxpayers,” said Dugan. “Given the rising federal debt, today’s babies will still be paying the Exxon tab.”
FTCR has called for oversight of unregulated electronic energy trading markets and of oil company refining operations, including investment in new capacity and updating of aged, unreliable refineries.
“Oil Profit Monster: A Powerful, Flexible and Free Tool” at www.OilWatchdog.org.
FTCR’s new database pulls together quarterly and annual profits, by sector, of the five major oil companies from 2000 to the present. It uniquely includes companies that were later bought out (for instance Unocal, taken over by Chevron in 2005) in the larger company’s totals for all the included years. The predecessor companies are also shown separately.
The database will be updated quarterly by FTCR and independent oil analyst Tim Hamilton, who produced and organized the Oil Profit Monster. It will be permanently stored, in its latest version, on www.OilWatchdog.org.
Hamilton said: “The few publicly available databases containing historical profitability of the oil companies are seldom kept updated. Little if any of the data on marketing factors that influence profitability, such as the price of oil or the pump price of gasoline, is included in the same place with historical profits. Comparisons between the prevailing market price and corporate profit were, before this database, difficult to make. Even more frustrating, the operating segments of the different companies that later merged (as with Chevron Texaco and Unocal) previously had to be combined by hand just to compare today’s Chevron with the Chevron of 2000.”
The database, on an Excel platform, can be used to produce charts and graphs as well as to make quick spot comparisons between companies.
Both upstream (oil production) and downstream (refining and marketing) are separated into domestic and international profits. Are U.S. drivers providing a greater or lesser profit percentage than they used to? Profit Monster makes it easy to tell.
The database is thoroughly footnoted with online sources for its data, and methodology for each company’s figures is described on its first page.
The individual companies are accessible on tabs at the bottom of the charts.
Some figures may vary from those originally stated in quarterly reports because of audits, restatements and accounting changes. For the same reason, quarterly totals may not add up exactly to the annual figure. But all data is fully sourced.
Exceptions to use of after-tax net profit are noted.
Comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome via email at: [email protected].
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The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is California’s leading non-profit and non-partisan consumer watchdog group. For more information visit us on the web at: www.ConsumerWatchdog.org and www.OilWatchdog.org.