Days ago, Exxon Mobile and Chevron reported record profits on high gas prices. Now it’s BP’s turn.
BP Announces The Second Highest Profits In Company History
BP announced record profits of $8.45 billion between April and June, the second highest in their history and more than triple what they made in the same period last year, the BBC reported Tuesday morning.
“BP’s profits were the second highest for the second quarter in the firm’s history and follow record profits from rival Shell and huge earnings from British Gas owner Centrica last week.”
These record profits put a different spin on the price gouging of consumers, especially given what the companies are doing with the profits.
BP announced it would “boost shareholder payouts by 10% as well as buy back shares as a result of its higher earnings.” That translates to shoveling profits back at investors. And in fact, the BBC reminded readers “Last year, chief executive Bernard Looney described the energy market as “a cash machine.”
Big Oil continues to reward shareholders instead of putting their record profits into production, while they whine about climate change protections holding them back from production. President Biden had to finally tell them to “use it or lose it” regarding federal leases they weren’t using as their PR machine pumped out Woe is Me tales about how protecting the environment a small little bit was so hurtful to them.
Second-quarter profits for ExxonMobil were up 273% and Chevron’s were up 247% from the same period a year ago.
“Big Oil has profiteered in this, has exploited the marketplace. This past year, the report is they’ve made over $200 billion in profits,” Speaker Pelosi said in April of this year. “But they are hoarding the windfall while keeping prices high for people at the pump. And this time of war, and any time, there’s no excuse for Big Oil companies to protect – to profiteer, to price gouge or exploit families.”
Big Oil Is Getting Tax Breaks And Subsidies While They Price Gouge
In the U.S. we provide a number of tax subsidies to oil and gas, including “both direct subsidies to corporations, as well as other tax benefits to the fossil fuel industry. Conservative estimates put U.S. direct subsidies to the fossil fuel industry at roughly $20 billion per year; with 20 percent currently allocated to coal and 80 percent to natural gas and crude oil. European Union subsidies are estimated to total 55 billion euros annually.”
In Britain, ministers agreed after political pressure “that oil and gas firms would pay an extra 25% on profits made in the UK profits.”
Here in the United States, we not only subsidize energy companies but they pay an effective tax rate much lower than the set rate. Between 2009-2013, for example, they paid equal to 11.7% of their pre-tax income, Taxpayer.Net found.
If that sounds like a low tax rate compared to what the People pay, hold on. The 2017 Trump Republican tax cut that primarily benefited corporations and the wealthy translates to “a reduction in the effective top tax rate of 10 percentage points.”
They get us coming and going. CAP laid out some new versions of an adjustable windfall profit tax that Congress could use right now… If only Congress were not full of people being paid by Big Oil.
Every House Republican voted against a bill that would prevent oil companies from price gouging even as Americans paid staggering prices at the pump (gas prices have started to fall).
Back in 2018, Republicans were fine when President Trump pulled out of the Iran deal, which experts warned would cause higher gas prices. “Withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal will support higher oil prices,” noted Canary LLC CEO Dan Eberhart. Goldman Sachs Senior Economist Daan Struyven noted it would hit the “lower end of the income distribution.”
Of course, they knew that the impacts might not be felt immediately as experts said, “The consequences of withdrawing from the agreement may not be clear in the short term.”
Oh, experts warned about inflation, too, from sustained higher gas prices and further geopolitical instability, but we didn’t hear about that from the media at the time and no one seems to be mentioning it now. “But the reduced Iranian supply could lead to sustained high oil prices and further geopolitical instability, in turn contributing to inflation and slowing economic growth at home,” Justin Worland wrote in Time.
BBC business editor Simon Jack said, “The contrast is stark but inevitable. The same high oil and gas prices emptying the pockets of consumers are filling those of the companies that sell it.”
Bad Actors Enable Big Oil’s Greed
What’s going on here is called corporate greed and the bad actors who enable it. Here in the United States, one of our biggest problems is that the oil and gas industry funnels some of their profit back to the Republican Party as one of its biggest donors, so Republicans are never going to stand up to them and tell them to stop gouging people.
Republicans can’t even stand up to loser Donald Trump, as he wanders around with the Saudis at his golf course, where he buried his ex-wife in a pauper’s grave for a huge tax break, saying no one is sure who was behind 9/11. He is the leader of their party, so this is not a party that has anything resembling courage or ethics or even patriotism.
Republicans continue to blame President Biden for high gas prices, and high gas prices are hurting the American people. But the fault is the greed of the oil and gas industry and their enablers, who are mostly in the Republican Party with a scattering of Democrats.
Clean air and water matter. People matter. They should matter more than corporations, more than the bottom line, and more than greed. Greed is not good; greed is going to be our demise in terms of the planet and even how we deal with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The “values” of greed and admiration for narcissistic abusers of the planet and people is killing us.
The best response to this is to be active in local politics and to work in every election to make sure anyone who espouses this greed over the value of respecting hard-working, responsible people is kicked out of office. We must have a government of and for The People.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.