According to a new report from government watchdog Accountable.US, twenty-five top oil and gas companies announced an eye-popping $205 billion in profits in 2021. These companies then used those profits to reward shareholders and buyback stock while Americans struggled with price increases. Now, Big Oil is exploiting the crisis in Ukraine to advance its agenda and make even more money at the expense of American consumers.
In 2021, oil and gas companies bought back over $35 billion in stocks while hiking up their dividends. And these giants are banking for an “even better” 2022 for shareholders, with plans already in place to buy back over $80 billion in shareholder returns already announced.
As Americans encounter higher prices to fill their gas tanks or heat their homes, Big Oil is grasping at straws to explain why they are swimming in unused leases and hundreds of billions of dollars in profits—money they hand over to wealthy oil and gas company executives and shareholders rather than struggling consumers. It’s time for Big Oil to stop lying about the Biden administration’s public land policies, quit using it as a cover to cash in on inflation and the crisis in Ukraine, and pass the benefits of their massive profits on to consumers.”
Kyle Herrig, Accountable.US President
- While Americans struggle to cover the cost of filling their cars, Big Oil boasts to investors about a “momentous year” with record profits. This includes:
- Chevron called 2021 one of its “most successful years ever.”
- Shell CEO Ben Van Beurden called 2021 a “momentous year.”
- Oil and gas companies are taking “full advantage” of high prices, with profits serving as a “main component” of determining retail energy costs. Comments include:
- Coterra CEO Tom Jordan called the high gas prices “good.”
- Equinor CEO Anders Opedal bragged to investors about “capturing value from high prices.”
- With sky-high prices, oil and gas companies are choosing to shower money on their shareholders instead of reinvesting to help lower prices. In 2021, 14 oil companies gave over $35 billion to shareholders through dividend bumps and stock buybacks.
- Pioneer Natural Resources called 2021 one of the best years for shareholder returns in the shale industry in the past decade.
- Marathon Oil called doubling down on share buybacks the “clear thing for us to do.”