Big Oil Profits Help CEOs And Investors, But Not Consumers Or The Planet

NWF   |   July 29, 2008

Giant oil companies continue to enjoy eye-popping quarterly
profits, but exactly where exactly does this money go? Most oil profits won’t
help the frustrated citizen at the gas pump, nor work to expand development of
clean energy solutions.

Big oil corporations spend more money on stock buybacks and
dividends than they spend on exploration of reserves. Buybacks,
when a company purchases shares of its own stock or bonds, essentially decrease
available shares and increase stock value to reward the oil company

five largest international oil companies poured 55 percent of 2007 profits into
stock buybacks and dividends last year, up from 30 percent in 2000
according to Rice University’s James A. Baker
III Institute for Public Policy.

Even if oil companies spent more of their profits on oil
exploration, the finding of new reserves does not guarantee gas prices will fall
anytime soon, as it may take several years before a company produces the first
barrel from a new field. For example, the Thunder Horse oil field
is operated by BP
and partly owned by Exxon Mobil. The platform began producing oil and gas in
June 2008—nine years after the field’s discovery.

"Letting Big Oil drill for more oil in more of America’s lands and waters would only
provide a drop in the bucket towards our energy needs while barely making a
ripple in prices at the pump," said Adam Kolton, senior director of
Congressional and federal affairs for the National Wildlife

Clean energy solutions are the key to recharging America’s economy by breaking our
addiction to oil, creating clean energy jobs, and solving global warming. Learn
more about the real
that would cut our energy bills and ease our addiction to fossil
fuels in the National Wildlife Federation’s Don’t
Be Fooled
fact sheet.

Published: July 29, 2008