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(Image: Adam Baron)
Big Oil is heavily profiting from the status quo
Many major oil companies and their trade association, the American Petroleum Institute, are some of the most vocal opponents of increasing American energy independence and reducing global warming pollution. This is likely because they profit by buying oil from “dangerous or unstable” states. This includes importing oil from Syria, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Mauritania, Iraq, Congo, Colombia, Chad, and Algeria.
In 2008 Chevron made a profit of $23.9 billion while nearly half of its imports—138 million barrels of oil—came from these countries.ExxonMobil made $45.2 billion while getting 43 percent of its oil—205.6 million barrels—from these countries. About one-third of BP’s imports—110.6 million barrels—were from these countries in 2008, when the company’s profits were $25.6 billion.
Approximately 25 percent of ConocoPhillips’ imports were from “dangerous or unstable” countries—116.7 million barrels—in 2008, contributing to its $52.7 billion profit.
With that kind of money it’s no wonder Big Oil is doing everything in its power to maintain the status quo. The companies are spending record amounts on lobbying to stop clean-energy and climate legislation. The American Petroleum Institute spent $75.2 million for public relations and advertising in 2008, and in the third quarter of 2009 the oil and gas industry outspent all other sectors lobbying on climate change, with Exxon Mobil leading the pack spending $7.2 million.And Shell raked in $31.4 billion that year, also importing one-quarter of its oil—61.8 million barrels—from these countries. (Note: Shell includes Shell Chemical LP, Shell Chemical Yabucoa Inc, Shell US Trading Co, Shell Oil Co, and Shell Oil Co Deer Park).
Oil companies are also the main source of funding for API’s front group, Energy Citizens, which makes false claims that climate change legislation will be a national energy tax and job killer. In reality, passing clean-energy and pollution reduction legislation will be affordable and even save consumers money while creating a net of 1.7 million jobs.
By Rebecca Lefton, Daniel J. Weiss | January 13, 2010