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The Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming addressed our nation's energy, economic and national security challenges during the 110th and 111th Congresses.

This is an archived version of the committee's website, where the public, students and the media can continue to access and learn from our work.

Markey: Exxon's $11 Billion in Profits Pacing New Record: New Legislation Targets Billions in Stock Buybacks


Contact: Select Committee, 202-225-4081

Markey: Exxon’s $11 Billion in Profits Pacing New Record As Big Oil Props Up Stocks

New Legislation Targets Billions in Stock Buybacks as Exxon Profits Portend New Annual Record

WASHINGTON (April 29, 2008) – ExxonMobil reported profits of nearly $11 billion today, outpacing their first quarter earnings from 2007 and putting the oil giant on pace for the largest annual profits in history. Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) responded to the irresponsible financial policies of Big Oil and today announced plans to introduce legislation that would target the increased stock buybacks that Big Oil, and Exxon in particular, has engaged in to prop up their stock prices instead of investing profits in alternatives to oil that could help consumers.

Exxon’s first quarter profits for 2008 exceeded by $1 billion the $9.3 billion profits the company made in the first quarter of 2007, pacing the company towards easily topping the record $40.6 billion in profits the company made last year.

“We’re reaching new thresholds of outrageous profits, and outrageous gas prices,” said Rep. Markey, Chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. “Exxon already is well outpacing last year’s record earnings, and increasing oil prices will continue to keep Big Oil on a record profit pace. These profits are a powerful reminder that American families are paying for these profits while simultaneously subsidizing billions of dollars in tax breaks for Big Oil.”

After posting $123 billion in combined profits last year among the top 5 oil companies, the oil giants spent $50 billion last year on stock buybacks and other financial schemes to prop up their stock price. At the rate of current stock buybacks, Exxon will have no privately held stock within 15 years. In contrast to the multi-billion dollar effort by Exxon to use stock buybacks to increase its share price, the company disclosed at a hearing before the Select Committee three weeks ago that it plans to spend a mere $100 million over the next decade on research and development on alternative energy sources.

In response to this disparity and lack of investment in consumers and alternatives to oil, Rep. Markey announced plans today to introduce legislation in the House that would levy a 10 percent fee on all future stock buybacks and other stock-propping schemes by the top 5 oil companies, redirecting the funds into low-income fuel assistance programs and research and development in renewable fuels and energy.

“Big Oil is spending their profits to prop up their stock price rather than on discovering and delivering alternatives to $4 gas,” said Markey. “American families need help, but all Big Oil can do is help themselves.”

Exxon’s profits follow Tuesday’s announcements that Shell Inc. reported $9.08  billion in profits for the first three months of 2008, and BP listed $7.62 billion in earnings. Both figures were well above their earnings compared to this time last year.

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PLEASE NOTE: The House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming was created to explore American clean energy solutions that end our reliance on foreign oil and reduce carbon pollution.

The Select Committee was active during the 110th and 111th Congresses. This is an archived version of the website, to ensure that the public has ongoing access to the Select Committee record. This website, including external links, will not be updated after Jan. 3rd, 2010.

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