News Release

“Fiscal Cliff” Deal: Are Big Oil’s Billions in Subsidies on the Table?

ANDY KROLL [email]
A reporter for Mother Jones magazine, Kroll recently wrote a piece on Bil Oil’s subsidies which states: “Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have argued that ‘everything should be on the table’” in any budget deal. “Yet notably absent from the debate over what to cut and what to spare in a deal are the tens of billions of dollars in subsidies, tax breaks, and other perks for the hugely profitable oil industry. …

“In case you didn’t quite believe it, yes, the U.S. government subsidizes Big Oil — shorthand for ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, Shell, and ConocoPhillips, five of the biggest oil companies. Many smaller drilling and refining companies up and down the supply chain receive subsidies, too. … The big-five corporations piled up profits of more than $1 trillion between 2001 and 2011. ExxonMobil alone raked in $16 billion in profits in April, May, and June of this year, the highest-ever quarterly profit for a U.S. corporation.

“Despite such staggering windfalls, the federal government continues to subsidize oil companies large and small. Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan government watchdog that wants to cut all energy subsidies, estimates that oil companies will receive $78 billion in industry-specific and broader business subsidies from 2012 to 2017. President Obama’s budget plan for the 2012 fiscal year called for eliminating 13 subsidies or perks for oil companies, which will save taxpayers $4.6 billion a year over the next decade. …

“In Congress, lawmakers ranging from hardline conservatives like Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to dyed-in-the-wool liberals like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and plenty more in between, have called for eliminating oil subsidies. Even oil executives themselves have said in years past that they don’t need the subsidies. ConocoPhillips CEO Jim Mulva told Congress in 2010 that, ‘with respect to oil and gas exploration and production, we do not need incentives.’ …

“The American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry’s top trade group, has launched an advertising campaign pressuring seven senators in states with ties to oil and gas companies … to not cut subsidies.”