Our Take

Big Oil, Big Profits: Industry Tops $120 Billion in 2012

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February 05, 2013
Programs: Energy

As annual financial reports come in, it’s clear the oil and gas industry is looking to continue its decade long trend of being one of the most profitable in the United States. As of February 5, 2013, the top five integrated oil and gas companies have released their 2012 fourth quarter results—and with no surprise, profits continue to boom. The top five integrated oil and gas companies earned nearly $120 billion in profits last year. Despite another substantial year, Big Oil continues to enjoy billions of dollars in taxpayer-backed subsidies.

Below is a brief description of the 2012 4th quarter/annual results for these companies. Table 1 lays out this information as well.

  • ExxonMobil hauled in $10 billion in the fourth quarter, driving their annual profits to nearly $45 billion—an increase of 9% from 2011. This takes Exxon’s five-year profits to $181 billion.
  • Shell made $6.7 billion in the fourth quarter, pushing their annual profits to more than $26 billion.
  • Chevron earned in $7.2 billion in the fourth quarter, taking their annual profits to more than $26 billion.
  • BP made $2.1 billion in the fourth quarter, taking their 2012 annual profits to $12 billion.
  • ConocoPhillips raked in $1.4 billion in the fourth quarter, taking their 2012 annual profits to more than $8 billion.

Table 1: 2012 Oil and Gas Industry Profits (billions)

Company

1st Quarter

2nd Quarter

3rd Quarter

4th Quarter

2012 Total

ExxonMobil

9.5

15.9

9.6

10.0

44.9

Shell

8.7

4.1

7.1

6.7

26.6

Chevron

6.5

7.2

5.3

7.2

26.2

BP

4.9

0.2

4.7

2.1

12.0

ConocoPhillips

2.9

2.3

1.8

1.4

8.4

Total Profits

$118.1

 

In the last decade, the top five oil and gas companies have now hauled in more than $1 trillion in profits (See Table 2). With oil prices more than $100/barrel for much of last year, it’s no surprise. Lest we forget what occurred in 2008 when oil prices spiked: ExxonMobil posted the largest annual corporate profit in U.S. history ($45.2B). With oil prices expected to hover around $100/barrel in 2013,[1] substantial profits by Big Oil can be expected.

Table 2: Big Oil Total Profits Over Past Decade (billions)

Company

Total Profits (2003-2012)

ExxonMobil

344.0

Shell

220.8

Chevron

176.9

BP

154.2

ConocoPhillips

125.2

Total Profits

$ 1,021.1


[1] U.S. Energy Information Agency, “Short-term Energy Outlook.” February 5, 2012. http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/steo/report/us_oil.cfm

 

Filed under: Increase Transparency, Cut Subsidies

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