Oil Giants Exxon & Shell Earn $54 Billion in 2012, After Taking $800 Million In Annual Tax Breaks

ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell, No. 1 and No. 2 on the Fortune 500 Global companies list, announced their third-quarter earnings on Thursday. Compared to last year’s earnings, both companies’ profits are down slightly — 7 percent for Exxon and 15 percent for Shell — on weaker oil prices. However, ExxonMobil and Shell earned $9.6 billion and $6.1 billion respectively, bringing their total 2012 profits to $35 billion for Exxon and $18.9 billion for Shell.

These two companies, along with the rest of the Big Five, continue to receive century-old annual tax breaks. At the same time, Exxon and Shell funnel a portion of their dollars toward lobbying against environment and public health protections, while also funding climate denier candidates. This summer, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson said that he recognized carbon pollution causes warming, but minimized the full impact saying “those consequences are manageable.” Meanwhile, extreme weather damages in the U.S. alone have potentially cost up to $144 billion since 2011.

Below are the highlights of where Exxon and Shell spend their earnings:


– Exxon received an estimated $600 million in annual tax breaks. It paid just a 13 percent federal tax rate.
– Exxon spent $5.1 billion — or 53 percent– of this quarter’s profits to buy back its own stock, which enriches the largest shareholders.
– Oil production for Exxon for Q3 in 2012 is 5 percent lower than this time last year (2.1 million of barrels per day in Q3 2012 vs. 2.2 million in Q3 2011).
– In 2012 alone, Exxon spent $12.7 million lobbying Congress, according to the latest Federal Election Commission figures.
– Exxon spent $2.1 million on direct federal and congressional campaign contributions so far in the 2012 election cycle, with 90 percent going to Republicans.
– Some of the biggest Congressional recipients include Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH).
– Exxon’s CEO Rex Tillerson’s total compensation in 2011 was $34.9 million.

Royal Dutch Shell:

– Shell received a $200 million annual tax break in 2011.
– Shell has $18.8 billion in cash-on-hand.
– In the third quarter, Shell used $149 million of its profits to buy back its own stock.
– Shell’s oil production decreased by 5 percent compared to this time last year (1.59 million of barrels per day in 2012 vs. 1.67 million in 2011).
– Shell spent more on lobbying than the other Big Oil companies – $12.9 million so far in the 2012 election cycle – according to the latest Federal Election Commission figures.
–Shell just finished drilling top holes in Arctic waters for the year, after issues with its containment barge and ice flows created delays.

The last of the Big Five oil companies, Chevron, will release its third quarter profits Friday.

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