Top Oil Giants Exxon And Shell Earn $54 Billion So Far In 2012, After Taking $800 Million In Annual Tax Breaks

by Rebecca Leber and Jackie Weidman

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.

4 Responses to Top Oil Giants Exxon And Shell Earn $54 Billion So Far In 2012, After Taking $800 Million In Annual Tax Breaks

  1. Leif says:

    Make them pay for Sandy. They will still have enough to eat well. Even buy some fuel for their Bimbo Yachts. They get a discount after all. They will be fine.

  2. Earl Richards says:

    Google the “$2.5 Trillion Oil Scam – slideshare” and google the “Global Oil Scam.” The US is a victim of this scam. BP and Royal Dutch Shell are partners in the IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) and Chevron, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil are “silent partners” in ICE. Plug your electric car into your household, solar power battery.

  3. Paul Klinkman says:

    The real political payoff is getting the United States Army to seize some other country’s oil fields for you, and by implication to threaten every other regime with doom for demanding a better oil price. That’s the biggest motivation by far for oil companies to Shell out the big bucks to buy Congress and the Presidency. The second motivation is allowing your company to drill in absolutely crazy conditions (BP in the Gulf, Shell off the coast of northern Alaska).

  4. Seriously? Exxon-Mobil announced third quarter earnings that brought profits to $76.1 billion thus far since 2011. Meanwhile, extreme weather floods and droughts were both enhanced by climate changes that added more and more heat to the atmosphere while more and more fossil fuels were burned. Extreme weather damages in the United States alone were projected at twice the amount of Exxon-Mobil’s profits since 2011 after $50 billion Super-storm Sandy affected New York/New Jersey. Seriously.