Big Oil Sees Record Profits As The World Burns
Chevron, Exxon and Shell have already brought in over $70 billion in profits in 2022.
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Big oil just posted record profits again.
Chevron, Exxon and Shell, the three largest western oil companies, posted a total combined profit of $46.22 billion during the second quarter of this year. This marks another huge quarter for big oil on the heels of a colossal Q1.
Between April and June, Chevron brought in $11.62 billion in profit, up 247% from Q2 of last year. Exxon reaped $17.9 billion in profit, a 273% increase from this time last year. Shell netted $16.7 billion, which was 107% more than Q2 2021.
The first quarter of this year was similarly profitable for the big three. Chevron’s profits of $6.5 billion were a 282% increase from Q1 2021. Exxon saw a 225% increase, raking in $8.8 billion. And Shell saw a 184% increase, taking $9.1 billion in Q1.
Overall, these three oil giants have accumulated over $70 billion in profit during 2022, a 275.6% increase from this time last year.
Other oil companies, too, are posting record profits for Q2. Norwegian oil giant Equinor saw profits of $17.6 billion, up 244% from this time last year. San Antonio’s Valero experienced a 1,673% boost this quarter and New York-based Hess saw an 800% increase in profits.
The past several months, Americans have been hit with record-high gas prices, which stretched an already strained working class due to record inflation rates in other areas. Rising rents, utilities, commodities and food prices have brought millions of Americans to the brink. Food banks have reported drastic increases in foot traffic, families have reported skipping meals and forgoing other necessities, and overall a vast majority of working people say their wages are falling behind the cost of living.
These record profits from some of the worlds biggest polluters also come during a time of increased extreme weather. Heatwaves have scorched various regions of the United States, record temperatures are crippling Europe and causing wildfires that have killed thousands and displaced thousands more. This has triggered another national and urgent conversation around investing in a greener future.
This week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin reported a potential deal that would move forward some of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan that could result in hundreds of billions to fight climate change.
Ryan Grim put it succinctly in The Intercept:
“The $369 billion for ‘energy security and climate change,’ if it becomes law, will change the world. It represents the biggest climate investment made by any country ever, and it will unlock potentially trillions in private capital, which is waiting on the sidelines for the types of subsidies, credits, and guarantees that this bill will include. It’ll also spur other countries to make their own investments, not wanting to fall behind in the industry that will dominate the next century. It’s projected to reduce carbon emissions in the U.S. by 2030 by 40 percent. That’s huge.”
Climate activists applauded the deal and said they’re positioned and ready to pressure Congress to pass it.
“The Republican Party has been the main benefactor of fossil fuel money for decades. It's meant the obstruction of climate action so executives can get rich. This week, a strong signal was sent that deep pockets only go so far. Democrats took their biggest step ever towards showing that politicians who protect profiteers fleecing Americans at the pump are on the wrong side of history,” Noreen Nielsen, Senior Advisor to Climate Power, an advocacy organization fighting for robust, meaningful investment in green policies, said. “All the money in the world couldn't stand in the way of an agreement to move forward on a bold plan to ramp up American-made clean energy, lower energy bills for families, and take on climate change.”
I’m a bit skeptical we’ll see a deal, as there’s still a potential for Arizona Senator and resident heel of Congress, Kyrsten Sinema, to nuke it, likely on the corporate minimum tax provisions. Still, any step in the right direction is a good one, and we must remember this isn’t the only thing we need to do. There’s much more to be done. As I wrote last week, feelings of despair over climate are difficult to overcome and seeing oil giants post record profits for yet another quarter heightens that sense of doomerism.
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Loving I Hate It Here, keep up the amazing work Jordan. Thank you for all you do.