Today, BP was the last of the Big Five Oil companies to announce its total 2012 earnings, raking in a net profit of $1.6 billion in the fourth quarter and bringing the company’s annual profits to $11.6 billion.
BP is one of the most profitable companies in the world, ranking fourth-highest on the Fortune 500 Global companies list. In November 2012, BP agreed to pay a $4.5 billion criminal fine -– the highest fine in U.S. history -– as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. The majority of the fine ($2.4 billion) will be used for restoration in the Gulf of Mexico, where 5 million barrels of oil flowed into the Gulf over 87 days. An estimated 1 million barrels of oil remain in the Gulf.
Below is a glimpse at how BP spent its billions in profits last year:
- BP received an estimated $200 million in tax breaks last year, according to an analysis by the Center for American Progress.
- BP spent $8.9 million lobbying Congress in 2012, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
- BP spent nearly $450,000 on campaign contributions during the 2011-2012 election cycle.
- Almost two-thirds of their contributions went to Republican candidates.
- Meanwhile, BP’s oil production decreased by 8 percent, from 1.29 million barrels of net liquids (oil + natural gas) per day in 2011 to 1.18 million barrels per day in 2012.
- BP is sitting on cash reserves totaling $19.5 billion.
High oil and gasoline prices contributed to another year of huge profits for the Big Five Oil Companies: BP plc, Chevron Corp, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil Corp, and the Royal Dutch Shell Group. These companies earned a combined $119 billion in profits in 2012, while collecting an estimated $2.4 billion in annual tax breaks. Average gas prices hit a record high last year, enriching the biggest oil companies while hurting consumers’ wallets.