“Monster Profits” Highlight Fossil-Fuel Industry’s Destructive Resilience

News, “Monster Profits” Highlight Fossil-Fuel Industry’s Destructive Resilience: detailed suggestions and opinions about “Monster Profits” Highlight Fossil-Fuel Industry’s Destructive Resilience.

The so-called Big Five raked in an unprecedented $200 billion last year.

This story was originally published by the Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

While 2022 inflicted hardship upon many people around the world due to soaring inflation, climate-driven disasters, and war, the year was lucrative on an unprecedented scale for the fossil-fuel industry, with the five largest western oil and gas companies alone making a combined $200 billion in profits.

In a parade of annual results released over the past week, the “big five”—ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, BP, and TotalEnergies—all revealed that last year was the most profitable in their respective histories, as the rising cost of oil and gas, driven in part by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, helped turbocharge revenues.

ExxonMobil, the Texas-based oil giant, led the way with a record $55.7 billion in annual profit, taking home about $6.3 million every hour last year. California’s Chevron had a record $36.5 billion profit, while Shell announced the best results of its 115-year history, a $39.9 billion surplus, and BP, another London-based firm, notched a $27.7 billion profit. The French company TotalEnergies also had a record, at $36.2 billion.

When the 2022 results for all publicly traded oil and gas companies are tallied the total profits are expected to exceed $400 billion, “a number we’ve never seen before, and one that was built off the backs of working families who were victimized by oil and gas executives’ greed,” according to Claire Moser, deputy executive director of the US activist group Climate Power.

The stratospheric profits were criticized as “outrageous” by Joe Biden during his State of the Union address on Tuesday. Biden said that “we’re still going to need oil and gas for a while” but the US president attacked companies for enriching shareholders through share buybacks rather than helping alleviate rising gasoline costs for drivers.

The big five oil and gas companies have already confirmed that most of the bumper profits will be going to stock buybacks and dividends. The $200 billion in combined profits equates to about five times the US’s annual foreign aid budget, or about double what the world gave to Ukraine last year in military and humanitarian assistance. If the oil executives had decided to use this money to go to space, they could have left the Earth’s atmosphere 3,225 times on Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket, at $62 million a trip.

Story continues