ConocoPhillips is the first of the Big Five oil companies to report quarterly profits, taking $2.9 billion in profits for the first few months of 2012.
Beginning May 1, 2012, the oil giant is splitting into two companies, and it has sold billions in assets over the past few years. As Conoco prepares for a major overhaul, it continues to finance the campaigns of mostly-Republican politicians, helping ensure billions in tax breaks.
Here are the major takeaways from Conoco’s profits:
Conoco made a $2.9 billion profit this quarter, compared to $3 billion it made Q1 in 2011. Reuters reports this is due to decreased output after a spill in China and the company selling off assets for the upcoming split.
The company spent 66 percent of its Q1 profits — or $1.9 billion — buying back its own stock, which enriches the largest shareholders and executives.
Conoco is sitting on $3.7 billion in cash reserves.
Conoco spent $20,557,043 on lobbying in 2011, making it the sixth-largest overall spender in 2011 and the top oil and gas company.
The company has donated over $300,000 to federal candidates for the 2012 cycle, 91 percent going to Republicans. Its PAC has spent $60,000 since January. Recipients include Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), Sen. John Barasso (R-WY), Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA), Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), and Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI).
The outgoing CEO James Mulva received a $27.7 million salary, a 55 percent jump in 2011. Mulva has contributed at least $20,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and to Minority Leader Mitch (R-KY) McConnell and Senate Finance Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT).
Conoco uses its billions in profits to protect its tax breaks and finance policies benefiting the oil industry, primarily aimed at Republican players. Conoco and its CEO — who received an $8.5 million raise — are doing quite well, even as Americans struggle to pay higher gas costs.
ExxonMobil and Shell are the next companies to report their profits this Thursday.