While 2012 might not be a banner year for Big Oil profits, it wasn’t a bad one either. With just BP left to announce 2012 earnings, Big Oil earned well over $100 billion in profits last year, while the companies benefit from continued taxpayer subsidies. Average gas prices also hit a record high last year, showing how a drilling boom may help oil companies’ profit margins, but not consumers’ wallets.
ExxonMobil — now the most valuable company in the world, passing Apple — earned $45 billion profit in 2012, a 9 percent jump over 2011. Meanwhile, Chevron earned $26.2 billion for the year. In the final three months of the year, the companies earned $9.95 billion and $7.2 billion respectively.
Here are the highlights of how Exxon and Chevron spend their earnings:
Exxon received $600 million annual tax breaks. In 2011, Exxon paid just 13 percent in taxes. The company paid no taxes to the U.S. federal government in 2009, despite 45.2 billion record profits. It paid $15 billion in taxes, but none in federal income tax.
Exxon’s oil production was down 6 percent from 2011.
In fourth quarter, Exxon bought back $5.3 billion of its stock, which enriches the largest shareholders and executives of the company.
Exxon’s federal campaign contributions totaled $2.77 million for the 2012 cycle, sending 89 percent to Republicans.
The company spent $12.97 million lobbying in 2012 to protect low tax rates and block pollution controls and safeguards for public health.
Exxon is moving ahead with a project to develop the tar sands in Canada.
In October, Chevron made the single-largest corporate donation in history. Chevron dropped $2.5 million with the Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC to elect House Republicans.
The bulk of Chevron’s federal contributions came from the super PAC donation, for a total of $3.87 million for the 2012 cycle. 85 percent went to Republicans.
Chevron spent $9.55 million lobbying Congress in 2012, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Chevron paid 19 percent U.S. taxes last year (half of the top corporate tax rate of 35 percent), and received an estimated $700 million in annual tax breaks last year.
Chevron was fined $1 million for a refinery fire that sent 15,000 Richmond, California residents to the hospital. Though the company faces $10 million in medical expenses, Chevron earns it back in a couple of hours.
With Royal Dutch Shell and ConocoPhillips reporting $35 billion in combined profit in 2012, BP is the last company left to announce its profits for the year.