The world’s top five oil companies—BP, Chevron, Conoco Phillips, Exxon Mobil, and Royal Dutch Shell—made a record $137 billion in 2011 beating out the previous record in 2008, reports Climate Progress. Still even as the companies made record profits they produced 4 percent less oil than the prior year.
Four of the five companies spent 28 percent of their profits, $38 billion, on repurchasing their own stock, a practice that enriches the largest shareholders. Conoco Philips spent nearly 90 percent of its profits buying back its own stock.
The article further notes that the companies spent $65.7 million on lobbying efforts in the U.S., where the total oil industry currently receives around $4.3 billion in annual tax breaks.
Investment on new fuels?
A number of the world’s oil companies have touted themselves as devoted to investing in cleaner fuels beyond petroleum. However, a recent analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) found that the oil industry spent over 50 times more on producing more oil than on renewable energies. From 2006 through 2010 the oil industry spent over $2 trillion on producing more oil and $3.9 billion in alternative fuels, most of which went to corn and sugarcane ethanol. Notably, during the same time period the industry spent $190 billion on Canada’s controversial tar sands.
(02/09/2012) Drilling in the Arctic waters of the U.S. may become as contested an issue as the Keystone Pipeline XL in up-coming months. Scientists, congress members, and ordinary Americans have all come out in large numbers against the Obama Administration’s leases for exploratory drilling in the Beaufort Sea and the Chuckchi Sea.
(01/30/2012) The U.S. state that takes climate change most seriously—California—has unanimously approved new rules dubbed the Advanced Clean Cars program to lower carbon emissions, reduce oil dependence, mitigate health impacts from pollution, and save consumers money in the long-term. According to the new standards, by 2025 cars sold in California must cut greenhouse gas emissions by 34 percent and smog emissions by 75 percent. The program will also require 15.4 percent of all cars sold in California to be zero or near-zero emissions by 2025.
(01/30/2012) Greenhouse gas emissions from palm oil-based biodiesel are the highest among major biofuels when the effects of deforestation and peatlands degradation are considered, according to calculations by the European Commission. The emissions estimates, which haven’t been officially released, have important implications for the biofuels industry in Europe.
(01/26/2012) A new report by Media Matters finds that U.S. TV and print media were largely biased toward the construction of TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline, which the Obama administration recently turned down. The report finds that guests and quotes were largely in favor of the pipeline in addition to news outlets consistently repeating job figures for the pipeline that have been discredited.
(01/20/2012) Scientists have devised a new way to produce ethanol directly from seaweed, offering the potential to generate biofuels that don’t compete with terrestrial food production and won’t suck up scarce freshwater, reports a study published today in Science.