Feb. 1, 2006 – In announcing that it had shattered all previous earning records in the last quarter of 2005, ExxonMobil pledged to give something back to shareholders but put forth no new plans to pursue alternative energy development or offer price relief to consumers. Other oil companies have reported brisk profits as well, continuing a trend of rapidly rising energy company profits and prompting environmental and other groups to call for reform of the industry.
- High Gas Prices Result of Industry Profits, Watchdogs Say (Aug 22, 2005)
- Oil Giants Planned to Manipulate Gas Prices, Memos Reveal (Sep 8, 2005)
- With Record Oil Profits, a Call for Hearings (Oct 31, 2005)
Monday, ExxonMobil announced that it made $10.7 billion during the last portion of 2005, bringing its total revenues for the year to more than $36.1 billion. Its nearest competitors, Chevron and ConocoPhillips, generated a combined $7.8 billion during the same period, according to company statements released this week.
Much like they did in reacting to last quarterâ€™s oil company profit reports, environmental and consumer advocates called on the companies to offer price relief and invest in environmentally friendly energy technology.
In a statement Monday, a coalition of fifteen groups operating under the name Exxpose Exxon called on the company to "finally start to behave responsibly." Among the recommendations made by the groups is that the company work to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), invest in fuel efficiency standards, develop alternative energy sources, and support mandatory caps on greenhouse gasses.
ExxonMobil spokesperson Mark Boudreaux told Reuters that the company is "doing [its] part to invest in new oil and gas projects to provide supplies toâ€¦ customers." Despite company assurances, politicians and others are calling for new inquiries into the industry.
Following similar profit reports last fall, several lawmakers joined calls from watchdog groups for hearings into possible oil company profiteering. Several days of hearings in mid-November found company officials defending their profits and resisting lawmakersâ€™ attempts to examine pricing structures.
In addition, documents uncovered after the hearings revealed that chiefs at Conoco, Shell, BP and Exxon lied to the Senate about their communications with the secretive energy task force formed by Vice President Dick Cheney, the Washington Post reported a week after the hearings ended.
Earlier this week, according to Reuters, executives from ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Shell, BP and Valero declined to testify at new Senate Judiciary Committee hearings into the record profits.
As of yet, Congress has not made public any plans to strengthen regulation of the oil industry.