Q3 Oil And Gas Profits Explained

Oil and gas companies posted (more!) record high earnings this quarter. Total adjusted earnings of the 20 largest oil companies in the U.S. were $62.672 billion this quarter, bringing total year to date profits to a massive $261 billion. 

  • Oil and gas companies pushed gas prices 44% higher, driving their profits 151.6% higher than third quarter earnings in 2021. 
  • Big Oil’s price bonanza isn’t ending anytime soon, with winter heating prices expected to be 28% higher for American households than last year. 

And who benefits from this massive increase in prices and profits? Big oil companies, working to enrich their CEOs and stakeholders instead of lowering costs for Americans at the pump. 

Excess profits aren’t being invested to increase production, a move which would eventually lower prices. The only priority for oil and gas CEOs is growing their dividends and expanding share buybacks; Exxon, ConocoPhillips, Chesapeake Energy, Marathon Petroleum, Marathon Oil Corp., Phillips 66, and APA Corp. all announced increased dividends or increased stock buybacks for the fourth quarter, clearly illustrating their commitment to shareholder value above all else. One thing oil and gas CEOs are investing in is greenwashing. 

  • A study of five major international oil and gas companies – BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, and TotalEnergies – found they spent just 12% of their capital expenditure budgets on low-carbon or renewable investments last year, despite 60% of their messaging containing claims the company was going green. These greenwashing companies made over $57 billion last quarter. 

Despite a focus on green messaging in public, oil and gas companies aren’t politically putting their money where their mouth is either. 

  • The industry spent over $90 million on lobbying so far this year, trying to convince Congress to lift restrictions on fossil fuel development and weaken methane leak regulations. 
  • Beyond directly lobbying, the industry spent $24 million working to elect their Republican allies to Congress. 
  • Over 80% of that money went toward Republican candidates who campaigned on increasing domestic oil and gas production. 

Big Oil is putting profit above planetary survival. The industry and its products are one of the largest drivers of climate change, which is fueling extreme weather events globally. 

  • At the same time, Big Oil companies’ profits this quarter were 8.7 times higher than the cost of extreme weather events over the same time period. 
  • The profits are enough to cover 90% of estimated damage from Hurricane Ian. 
  • Globally, profits from the six largest oil companies so far this year are enough to offset the cost of climate-intensified extreme weather events over the same period, with some left over. 

Let’s be clear: Big Oil is profiting off planetary destruction and padding billionaire executives’ bottom lines while the fuels they sell drive extreme weather globally. 

 

Table 1: Year-To-Date Profits Of Major Oil Companies

Amounts in millions. Hyperlinks go to earnings announcement filings.

Company Q1 2022 Adjusted Non-GAAP Earnings Q2 2022 Adjusted Non-GAAP Earnings Q3 2022 Adjusted Non-GAAP Earnings Year-To-Date Adjusted Non-GAAP Earnings
APA Corp $ 668 $ 811 $ 651 $ 2,130
Cheniere Energy Inc $ 3,153 $ 2,529 $ 2,782 $ 8,464
Chesapeake Energy $ 436 $ 729 $ 730 $ 1,895
Chevron $ 6,543 $ 11,365 $ 10,784 $ 28,692
ConocoPhillips $ 4,289 $ 5,086 $ 4,590 $ 13,965
Coterra Energy Inc $ 818 $ 1,083 $ 1,126 $ 3,027
Diamondback Energy Inc $ 929 $ 1,309 $ 1,142 $ 3,380
Devon Energy $ 1,255 $ 1,707 $ 1,429 $ 4,391
EOG Resources $ 2,346 $ 1,614 $ 2,179 $ 6,139
EQT Corporation $ 334 $ 340 $ 522 $ 1,196
ExxonMobil $ 8,833 $ 17,551 $ 19,660 $ 46,044
Halliburton $ 314 $ 442 $ 544 $ 1,300
Hess $ 404 $ 667 $ 583 $ 1,654
Marathon Oil Corp $ 749 $ 934 $ 832 $ 2,515
Marathon Petroleum $ 2,639 $ 5,687 $ 3,857 $ 12,183
Murphy Oil $ 361 $ 647 $ 637 $ 1,645
Occidental Petroleum $ 2,127 $ 3,240 $ 2,465 $ 7,832
Ovintiv Inc $ 559 $ 629 $ 369 $ 1,557
Phillips 66 $ 595 $ 3,285 $ 3,122 $ 7,002
Pioneer Natural Resources $ 1,982 $ 2,401 $ 1,872 $ 6,255
Valero Energy $ 944 $ 4,609 $ 2,796 $ 8,349
BP $ 6,245 $ 8,451 $ 8,150 $ 22,846
Enbridge $ 1,705 $ 1,350 $ 1,366 $ 4,421
Equinor $ 17,991 $ 17,590 $ 24,301 $ 59,882
Shell $ 9,130 $ 11,472 $ 9,454 $ 30,056
TC Energy $ 1,103 $ 979 $ 1,068 $ 3,150
TechnipFMC $ (13) $ 8 $ 13 $ 8
TotalEnergies SE $ 17,424 $ 9,796 $ 9,863 $ 37,083
Totals $ 93,863 $ 116,311 $ 116,887 $ 327,061

 

Table 2: Year-To-Date Dividend Spending Of Major Oil Companies

Amounts in millions. Hyperlinks go to quarterly reports

Company Q1 2022 Dividend Spending Q2 2022 Dividend Spending Q3 2022 Dividend Spending Year-To-Date Dividend Spending
APA Corp $ 43 $ 43 $ 41 $ 127
Cheniere Energy Inc $ 86 $ 565 $ 251 $ 902
Chesapeake Energy $ 210 $ 298 $ 280 $ 788
Chevron $ 2,700 $ 2,800 $ 2,700 $ 8,200
ConocoPhillips $ 864 $ 988 $ 1,484 $ 3,336
Coterra Energy Inc $ 456 $ 484 $ 519 $ 1,459
Diamondback Energy Inc $ 107 $ 541 $ 526 $ 1,174
Devon Energy $ 667 $ 830 $ 1,007 $ 2,504
EOG Resources $ 1,023 $ 1,486 $ 1,312 $ 3,821
EQT Corporation $ 47 $ 93 $ 149 $ 289
ExxonMobil $ 3,760 $ 3,727 $ 3,685 $ 11,172
Halliburton $ 108 $ 217 $ 327 $ 652
Hess $ 119 $ 116 $ 115 $ 350
Marathon Oil Corp $ 52 $ 56 $ 106 $ 214
Marathon Petroleum $ 330 $ 643 $ 285 $ 1,258
Murphy Oil $ 23 $ 27 $ 39 $ 89
Occidental Petroleum $ 216 $ 323 $ 324 $ 863
Ovintiv Inc $ 52 $ – $ 62 $ 114
Phillips 66 $ 404 $ 467 $ 1,337 $ 2,208
Pioneer Natural Resources $ 1,073 $ 1,788 $ 2,052 $ 4,913
Valero Energy $ 401 $ 800 $ 1,186 $ 2,387
BP $ 1,068 $ 1,062 $ 1,140 $ 3,270
Enbridge $ 1,742 $ 1,743 $ 1,741 $ 5,226
Equinor $ 582 $ 1,310 $ 1,256 $ 3,148
Shell $ 1,950 $ 1,851 $ 1,818 $ 5,619
TC Energy $ 853 $ 885 $ 885 $ 2,623
TechnipFMC $ – $ – $ – $ –
TotalEnergies SE $ 1,928 $ 1,825 $ 5,630 $ 9,383
Totals $ 20,864 $ 24,968 $ 30,257 $ 76,089

 

Table 3: Year-To-Date Stock Buyback Spending Of Major Oil Companies

Amounts in millions. Hyperlinks go to quarterly reports

Company Q1 Stock Buyback Spending Q2 Stock Buyback Spending Q3 Stock Buyback Spending Year-To-Date Stock Buyback Spending
APA Corp $ 261 $ 291 $ 332 $ 884
Cheniere Energy Inc $ 25 $ 170 $ 640 $ 835
Chesapeake Energy $ 83 $ 475 $ 109 $ 667
Chevron $ 1,300 $ 2,500 $ 3,800 $ 7,600
ConocoPhillips $ 1,425 $ 2,300 $ 2,799 $ 6,524
Coterra Energy Inc $ 184 $ 303 $ 253 $ 740
Diamondback Energy Inc $ 7 $ 303 $ 472 $ 782
Devon Energy $ 211 $ 324 $ 126 $ 661
EOG Resources $ 43 $ 15 $ 37 $ 95
EQT Corporation $ 216 $ 216 $ 270 $ 703
ExxonMobil $ 2,067 $ 3,919 $ 4,494 $ 10,480
Halliburton $ – $ – $ – $ –
Hess $ – $ 190 $ 150 $ 340
Marathon Oil Corp $ 592 $ 760 $ 1,714 $ 3,066
Marathon Petroleum $ 2,846 $ 6,177 $ 3,908 $ 12,931
Murphy Oil $ – $ – $ – $ –
Occidental Petroleum $ 36 $ 532 $ 1,899 $ 2,467
Ovintiv Inc $ 71 $ 135 $ 325 $ 531
Phillips 66 $ – $ 66 $ 760 $ 826
Pioneer Natural Resources $ 276 $ 499 $ 511 $ 1,286
Valero Energy $ 144 $ 1,892 $ 2,769 $ 4,805
BP $ 1,592 $ 2,288 $ 2,876 $ 6,756
Enbridge $ 50 $ 101 $ – $ 151
Equinor $ 439 $ 304 $ 1,996 $ 2,739
Shell $ 3,472 $ 5,541 $ 4,950 $ 13,963
TC Energy $ – $ 1,000 $ – $ 1,000
TechnipFMC $ – $ – $ 50 $ 50
TotalEnergies SE $ – $ 1,988 $ 5,160 $ 7,148
Totals $ 15,340 $ 32,289 $ 40,400 $ 88,030

 

Climate Change Driving Rapid Hurricane Intensification

Hurricanes Are Strengthening Faster Because Of Climate Change

Hurricane Ian’s wind speeds increased from 120 to 155 miles per hour in the 24 hours before it made landfall in Florida on Wednesday, a textbook definition of rapid intensification. According to the National Hurricane Center, rapid intensification is an increase in the maximum sustained wind speed of a tropical cyclone of at least 35 miles per hour in a 24 hour period. Ian is one of many devastating hurricanes, including Hurricanes Harvey and Maria in 2017, Hurricane Michael in 2018, and Hurricane Ida in 2021, that experienced rapid intensification before making landfall.

Rapid intensification is particularly dangerous for coastal communities. Stronger storms are a larger threat to coastal areas, as soaring wind speeds exponentially increase storm damage. Additionally, rapid intensification means coastal communities have less time to prepare for stronger storms. For example, Hurricane Ida jumped from a Category 2 to a Category 4 storm in less than 24 hours, preventing officials from calling for mandatory evacuations because there was not sufficient time for the millions in the storm’s path to get off roads before the storm hit. 

Unfortunately, rapid intensification is becoming more common because of climate change. The oceans absorb over 90% of excess atmospheric heat, which is caused by greenhouse gas emissions. These warming waters act as fuel for hurricanes, increasing the amount of energy released through winds and storm surges. Hurricane Ian’s rapid intensification occurred over Caribbean waters that are nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than normal. Scientific studies of rapid intensification found a “highly unusual” upward trend between 1982 and 2009, indicating climate change is a large contributing factor. 

Hurricanes will become stronger, faster, without climate action. A recent study found intensifications of 70 miles per hour or more within 24 hours of landfall used to be a 1 in 100 year event, but could happen every 5 to 10 years by 2100 without aggressive climate action. Major metropolitan areas, including Houston, New Orleans, Tampa, and Miami are all at risk. Another paper found that climate-driven changes to Atlantic wind patterns could allow storms to intensify closer to shore, magnifying the threat from rapid intensification. 

Q2 Q&A On Oil & Gas Profits

Our Research Team Answers Your Questions About Big Oil’s Big Profits.

While Americans were struggling with record high gas prices, oil and gas giants were raking in billions of dollars. Climate Power Education Fund’s research staff tracked the quarterly earnings announcements, financial statements, and other public records for 28 publicly traded oil and gas companies to see where all of those hard earned dollars that were spent at the pump ended up. We’ve got the receipts on Big Oil’s profiteering, and we’re here to answer your questions.

 

Q: How Much Money Did Oil Companies Make Last Quarter?

A: According to President Biden, “more money than God”

That actually checks out if you consider that donations to religious charities bring in about $128 billion per year (that’s the full year, not just a single quarter).

The 28 companies that Climate Power Education Fund tracked brought in a combined $116.3 billion in adjusted earnings (Table 1), or $120.6 billion in net income under U.S. GAAP accounting rules (Table 2). At an annualized rate, these companies booked more in earnings than the projected 2022 GDP of 158 countries.

On average, these companies saw their quarterly profits increase 231% year-over-year (Table 1).

 

Q: Where did all the money go?

A: Stock buybacks and dividends, mostly. 

The companies that we tracked spent $35.27 billion on stock buybacks and $31.56 billion on dividends, for a total of $66.87 billion funneled to shareholders (Table 3). This has been a bonanza for billionaire investors and executives whose compensation is tied to stock values. 

We won’t get the full picture of just how big of a deal this was to CEOs and major investors, but the data from 2021 gives us a pretty clear picture. According to the Forbes billionaires list, American billionaires whose wealth came primarily from oil saw their personal wealth increase by another billion dollars on average in 2021.

With compensation packages often tied to stock performance and options, CEOs and executives do far better when the company’s focus is on making their stocks attractive to investors, rather than the actual productivity of the company. In fact, when we reviewed 2021 CEO compensation data, we saw CEOs making anywhere from 50 times the median worker income to as high as 291 times the median worker’s income (Table 4).

 

Q: Did they reinvest money back into raising production to help lower prices?

A: Not significantly.

In a competitive market economy, high prices should incentivize companies to reinvest capital to increase production, eventually bringing prices back down.

The thing is, oil company executives made it clear earlier this spring that they have no intention to reinvest their massive cash surpluses, and they clearly don’t feel any pressure to change course because they know that they’ll still be able to sell their product at any price, and higher prices bring in more money.

Check out what they had to say in their own words:

  • “The first financial priority is to grow the dividend. We’ve done that for 35 consecutive years, increased it 6% earlier this year. It’s up 20% since right before COVID, and it’s doubled since 2010.” – Chevron CFO Pierre Breber, 7/29/2022
  • “I think we’ve accomplished a mindset shift in Chevron, and this is throughout our workforce, being very focused on returns, not chasing a production target, but continuing to run this as a business and thinking about the returns we can get.” – Chevron Executive Vice President Jay Johnson, 7/29/2022
  • “So what we are seeing is significantly lower production, but we’re really the value over volume coming through and it’s really working.” – Shell CFO Sinead Gorman, 7/28/2022
  • “People have asked me at $100 oil at $150 oil are you going to grow more than 5% and the answer is no. We’re just going to return more cash back to the investor, so I just don’t think we have an obligation to grow production, because we’ve done it twice. We’ve added too much oil several different times over the last ten years and we’ve had a price collapse.” – Pioneer Natural Resources CEO Scott Sheffield, 12/7/2021

 

Q: Do these oil companies at least pay taxes on all of their enormous profits?

A: LOL, no.

Again, data for the current quarter is limited, but for the full year in 2021, we identified 19 U.S. based companies that paid an average effective tax rate of 2.86% on current U.S. federal income tax. Six of these companies paid nothing (Table 5).

Going forward into 2022, we can reasonably expect that business as usual for these oil and gas companies means they will continue paying far lower income tax rates than ordinary Americans unless Congress closes tax loopholes.

We estimate that they managed to avoid $8.5 billion in federal income taxes versus what they would have paid if they actually paid the full 21% corporate tax rate. A 15% corporate minimum tax like the one being considered in the Inflation Reduction Act would have forced them to pay $6 billion more than what they paid last year (Table 6). 

Another provision in the Inflation Reduction Act would make corporations pay a 1% surtax on stock buybacks. If these oil companies kept spending money on stock buybacks at the rate they spent this last quarter for an entire year, they would owe $1.4 billion in taxes under the proposed stock buyback tax (Table 7).

 

Q: Who else benefited from Big Oil’s cash surplus?

A: Republicans in Congress.

Thanks to data provided by the Center For Responsive Politics, we know that the oil and gas industry has given at least $18.2 million in campaign contributions so far in the 2022 cycle, with more than 40% of that total coming in just the last quarter alone. $14.1 million, or 77% of that total went to Republicans.

With plenty of money to throw around in elections, the oil and gas industry is able to get access that helps them influence things like the Trump tax cuts and coronavirus aid packages that gave them billions in handouts. They’re also able to use that influence to block action on climate change.

 

Q: Are you telling me that they’re just throwing a bunch of money at politicians and getting what they want?

A: Yup, pretty much.

So far, the oil and gas industry overall has spent at least $63.5 million on lobbying efforts this year, after a whopping $119.4 million in 2021.

 

Check The Stats

Table 1: Adjusted Earnings

Table 2: GAAP Net Income

Table 3: Stock Buybacks & Dividends

Table 4: CEO Pay

Table 5: Effective Tax Rates

Table 6: Hypothetical Taxes Avoided

Table 7: Hypothetical Stock Buyback Surtax

ICYMI: CBO Budget Outlook Warns Of GDP Losses From Climate Change

A new report from the Congressional Budget Office warns that climate change will reduce GDP as well as output on labor productivity. However, successful investments in mitigating climate change are expected to produce federal budget savings and benefit the private sector.

Source: Congressional Budget Office, “The 2022 Long-Term Budget Outlook,” July 2022

Key Points

  • CBO determined that “climate change will reduce GDP,” with real GDP in 2052 being 1% lower than it would have been if climatic conditions from 2022 – 2052 were the same as they were at the end of the 20th century.
  • Climate change is expected to reduce output on labor productivity, labor supply, and the private sector’s production costs:
    • Total factor productivity (TFP) is set to grow more slowly over the next 30 years than it did in the past 30 years, in part, due to climate change. 
    • CBO estimates TFP growth over the 2022–2052 period will be lower by on average 0.02 percentage points per year due to climate change. As a result, TFP will be about 0.7% less and GDP about 0.5% less in 2052 than would have been without the effects of climate change.
  • The report noted that “though CBO’s extended baseline projections incorporate some effects of climate change, unexpected and significant changes to the climate still pose a sizable risk to the federal budget.” 
  • Increased frequency and severity of climate disasters could require increased funding, in the form of emergency disaster relief or infrastructure protection, for example, above amounts projected by the CBO. 
  • CBO determined that successful investments in mitigation or adaptation are expected to produce federal budget savings by reducing physical damage, increasing land and outdoor labor productivity, and lowering health care costs. 
  • Efforts to mitigate or adapt to climate change could provide long-lasting budgetary savings, as well as deliver benefits to the private sector and other governments. Ineffective policies could impose costs on all levels of government without yielding budgetary savings or other benefits. 

What You Need To Know About The Oak Fire

The Oak Fire in Mariposa County, near Yosemite National Park, has quickly become California’s largest wildfire this year at more than 17,241 acres. The fire has destroyed homes, forced thousands to evacuate, and closed roads in the area. Fire officials said the fire is displaying “unprecedented” behavior, with the blaze’s “extremely fast” growth limiting the time authorities have to warn residents to evacuate. CalFire Chief Jon Heggie noted the fire “is a direct result” of climate change, with a combination of rising temperatures, megadroughts, and an abundance of dry vegetation leaving forests vulnerable to fire. California is projected to have an above-normal wildfire season this year. 

  • The Oak Fire has burned 17,241 acres in Mariposa County near Yosemite National Park. The blaze is California’s largest wildfire this year and is only 16% contained as of Monday evening.
    • The fire started on Friday near the town of Midpines and exploded in size over the weekend due to gusty winds, drought conditions, and temperatures that reached 100 degrees. Officials have not determined the cause of the fire.
    • The area has seen nearly two weeks of triple digit temperatures and low humidity, and vegetation is at almost record levels of dryness. Officials reported last month that vegetation was already as dry early in the summer as it would typically be in October.
    • The fire is burning through an area of Mariposa County that hasn’t seen wildfires since 1924.
  • The Oak Fire is the third blaze to burn near Yosemite in recent weeks, and is far larger than the Washburn Fire, which threatened ancient giant sequoias.
  • The fire has destroyed at least 55 structures, forced several thousand residents to flee, and caused numerous road closures, including the closure of a stretch of State Route 140, one of the main routes into Yosemite National Park.
    • Parts of the Sierra National Forest, which partially overlaps with Mariposa County, were closed to the public due to the fire on Sunday.
  • The Oak Fire is threatening multiple mountain communities in the Sierra Nevada foothills west of Yosemite National Park, including Lushmeadows, Midpines, Jerseydale, and Bootjack, from which about 6,062 people had been evacuated as of Saturday afternoon.
  • As of Monday, Pacific Gas & Electric reported about 2,676 homes and businesses in Mariposa County have lost power due to the blaze.
  • On Saturday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for Mariposa County, allowing the deployment of additional emergency personnel. More than 2,500 firefighters were battling the blaze as of Monday.
  • Smoke from the Oak Fire traveled as far as the Bay Area on Monday, with an air quality advisory for the area extended through Wednesday. On Sunday, smoke had already drifted nearly 200 miles north to South Lake Tahoe, where air quality was considered “hazardous to unhealthy.”
  • Currently, 100% Mariposa County is affected by drought, and 2022 is the driest year to date for the county.
  • As well as the Oak Fire, 4 additional large wildfires are burning in California.

Oil Giants Predict Big Gains From Consumer Pain

Early Data Reveals Massive Windfalls From Refining Profits

This week, oil industry executives have been busy crunching the numbers on the past few months. With Americans paying record high prices at the pump, oil companies have been making massive profits on refinery margins, the profit that they make by selling gasoline for more money than the cost of the crude oil it came from. Full quarterly reports will come later this month, but in the meantime, some early filings from ExxonMobil and Shell have given the public some insight into just how much the oil industry is raking in from consumers paying high prices.

Here are some key takeaways from the recent filings:

  • A filing by ExxonMobil revealed that they anticipate between $1 billion and $1.4 billion in profit growth from liquid fuels, and another $1.5 billion to $1.9 billion from gas. 
  • Overall, analysts expect ExxonMobil to report as much as $18 billion in profit for the months of April, May, and June.
  • Meanwhile, Shell also revealed in a filing that their refining margin more than doubled from the first quarter to the second quarter of the year, which is expected to add more than $1 billion to quarterly earnings.