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The White House continues to express indignation at Big Oil as the U.S. supermajors continue to report record earnings for 2022, with ExxonMobil the latest target of the Biden Administration’s criticism.
High oil and gas prices were the key reasons for higher profits at Exxon, which beat its own annual earnings record of $45.2 billion from 2008 – when oil prices hit a record $142 per barrel – and posted the highest-ever annual profit by a major Western oil firm.
The reaction from the White House was quick.
“It’s outrageous that Exxon has posted a new record for Western oil company profits after the American people were forced to pay such high prices at the pump amidst Putin’s invasion,” White House spokesperson Abdullah Hasan said in a written statement, as carried by The Hill.
“The latest earnings reports make clear that oil companies have everything they need, including record profits and thousands of unused but approved permits, to increase production, but they’re instead choosing to plow those profits into padding the pockets of executives and shareholders while House Republicans manufacture excuse after excuse to shield them from any accountability,” the White House said.
Referring to the record earnings at Exxon, President Biden said on Twitter, “The only thing stopping Big Oil from increasing production is their decision to pay shareholders billions instead of reinvesting profits.”
“Instead of demanding accountability, Republican officials are blaming us. I'm doing my part to lower prices, it's time Big Oil did theirs,” the president said.
That’s the second time in less than a week that the White House has slammed corporate decisions at oil firms. Last week, when Chevron announced a $75 billion share buyback program, Hasan said, commenting on the news, “For a company that claimed not too long ago that it was ‘working hard’ to increase oil production, handing out $75 billion to executives and wealthy shareholders sure is an odd way to show it.”
On Friday, Chevron also reported its highest annual profit ever as its adjusted earnings for last year more than doubled from 2021 to hit $36.5 billion on the back of higher oil and gas prices and record U.S. production.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.