Wow. I speculated about getting ready for $5 per gallon gas here in the US a few weeks ago, but when you read that the oil companies are breaking the record for most profit in a single quarter – ever! For any company! Ever! It kind of makes you pissed off.
The New York Times reported today that Exxon’s Second Quarter Earnings Set a Record:
HOUSTON â€” Exxon Mobil reported the best quarterly profit ever for a corporation on Thursday, beating its own record, but investors sold off shares as oil and natural gas prices resumed their recent decline.
Record earnings for Exxon, the worldâ€™s largest publicly traded oil company, have become routine as the surge of oil prices in recent years has filled its coffers. The companyâ€™s income for the second quarter rose 14 percent, to $11.68 billion, compared to the same period a year ago. That beat the previous record of $11.66 billion set by Exxon in the last three months of 2007.
Exxonâ€™s profits were nearly $90,000 a minute over the quarter, but it was less than Wall Street had expected. Exxonâ€™s shares fell 4.6 percent, to close at $80.43. (The company calculates that it pays $274,000 a minute in taxes and spends $884,000 a minute to run the business.)
Of course, as the oil companies would point out, their profit margins are actually pretty slim as a percentage of revenue, the absurd profits are merely a result of volume. Still, I’m going to have a really hard time feeling sympathy for them.
Seems to me that they could be spending a more significant portion of profits to develop higher margin, clean energy alternatives to help us actually try and clean up our planet. If they were, perhaps the shareholders wouldn’t be handing them a 5% beating for actually having the highest profit margins of all time.