Saturday, February 2, 2008

The money train rolls on

Exxon made $40.6 billion in 2007, on sales of $404 billion.
Chevron earned $18.7 billion
Shell made $31 billion

Excerpts from NYT article (2/01/08)

"By any measure, Exxon Mobil’s performance last year was a blowout.The company reported Friday that it beat its own record for the highest profits ever recorded by any company, with net income rising 3 percent to $40.6 billion, thanks to surging oil prices. The company’s sales, more than $404 billion, exceeded the gross domestic product of 120 countries.Exxon Mobil earned more than $1,287 of profit for every second of 2007."...."Like most oil companies, Exxon benefited from a near doubling of oil prices, as well as higher demand for gasoline last year. Crude oil prices rose from a low of around $50 a barrel in early 2007 to almost $100 by the end of the year — the biggest jump in oil prices in any one year."..."Oil companies have all reported strong profits in recent days. Chevron, the second-largest American oil company, said Friday that its profits rose 9 percent to $18.7 billion last year; Royal Dutch Shell on Thursday reported net income for 2007 of $31 billion, up 23 percent and the largest figure ever for a British company."..."Given the darkening prospects for the American economy, which may be headed toward a recession, some analysts said oil company profits might soon reach a peak. Oil prices could fall this year if an economic slowdown reduces energy consumption in the United States, the world’s biggest oil consumer."..."Exxon also spent a total of $35.6 billion for share buybacks and dividends last year, $3 billion more than in 2006.Separately, the OPEC cartel, which was meeting in Vienna on Friday, decided to leave its production levels unchanged, resisting pressure from developing nations to pump more oil into the global economy.The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is set to meet again next month, and the cartel signaled it would be ready to cut production then to make up for a seasonal slowdown in demand in the second quarter. OPEC’s actions mean the cartel is determined to keep prices from falling below $80 a barrel, according to energy experts."...

And why should we applaud Exxon for the huge profits they have earned? Because without them, they would not be in a position to fund many important programs, such as this:

Global Warming Denier Group Funded By Big Oil Hosting Climate Change Denial Conference

From March 2-4, right-wing climate-denier group The Heartland Institute will host what it calls a ‘Climate Skeptics’ Conference. Heartland President Joseph Blast boasted that his conference would feature climate change deniers: “This is their chance to speak out.” The online poster for the conference declares, “Global Warming is not a crisis!”

Heartland’s environmental stance is completely out of the mainstream. The debate over human contribution to global warming is long over. Even as all three top GOP presidential candidates recently endorsed California’s effort to reduce auto greenhouse gas emissions, Heartland ridiculed the idea, calling California and its allies “environmental extremists.”

Heartland’s extreme anti-environmentalism no doubt spawns from its supporters. Between 1998 and 2005, oil giant ExxonMobil gave nearly $800,000 to Heartland. The group’s Board of Directors also explains the group’s climate change denials:

Thomas Walton is the Director of Economic Policy at General Motors.

James L. Johnston is a former senior economist for oil company Amoco Corporation.

Walter F. Buchholtz is a former member of Heartland’s board of directors and worked as ExxonMobil’s Senior Issues Advisor.

James M. Taylor is editor of Heartland’s weekly Environment & Climate News and wrote an op-ed criticizing Gore’s “Assault On Reason” insisting that “global warming threats they should not be deliberately exaggerated as a means of building support for a desired political position.”

RealClimate quips, “Normal scientific conferences have the goal of discussing ideas and data in order to advance scientific understanding. Not this one.”

OPEC, for it's part, is determined not to let the price of crude oil fall below $80/bbl. This of, course will protect the enormous profits of the OPEC members as well as Exxon, Shell and the rest.

President Bush won't mind, he likes the idea of excessive profits and, despite the show of concern he put on recently when he begged the Saudis to cut the price of oil, knows full well why it won't happen.

And so the money train rolls on, despite the consequences for the rest of us, and won't stop until every last dollar of profit is squeezed out of the world economies by the energy producers. And this will be so regardless of who becomes our next President, because even if he or she wanted to switch the money train to a siding, it won't be permitted by the real rulers of this country.

UPDATE (2/04/08) : Look what showed up today at Huffington Post.

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