Environment & the World

Thursday, October 26, 2006

ExxonMobil Rolls in Dough

Filed under: Economics, Energy, Oil — amirj @ 3:14 pm

I’ve known for a while that ExxonMobil was making big bucks, but I was completely astonished when I learned about the magnitude of their profits. This summer I had one of those jaw-dropping, I-can’t-believe-it-and-I-don’t-know-what-to-say moments when ExxonMobil reported its second quarter profits for 2006.  The massive corporation raked in $10.36 billion dollars in profits in three short months. This landed ExxonMobil the second largest quarterly profit in U.S. history. Not that it makes too much of a difference considering they bumped themselves out of second place (previously held by ExxonMobil’s $9.9 billion 3rd-quarter profits for 2005); and it probably doesn’t make too much of a difference considering they also hold the highest quarterly profit ever in U.S. history thanks to their unbelievable $10.71 billion dollar profits in the fourth quarter of 2005.

History sort of repeated itself today when ExxonMobil announced its 3rd-quarter profits for this year. Guess what happened? They reported an astounding $10.49 billion profit, once again bumping themselves out of second place for the highest quarterly profits in U.S. history. As you can see on the table in the same USATODAY article, ExxonMobil now holds the four highest quarterly profits in U.S. history–all from 2005 and 2006. What could the fact that these records were set in the last two years imply about the society we live in? Something about these numbers becomes mind-numbing when you start to think about how U.S. debt has exploded during the same time-period.

ExxonMobil is such a massive, complicated and mind-boggling corporation that it’s difficult to say anything very significant or penetrating about it in one short blog post. For the sake of a little reflection, though, let’s consider its charitable giving. One would hope that such a driven and rich corporation would, at the very least, give back almost as generously as they take from consumers at the pump. ExxonMobil reports its 2005 global contributions at $132.8 million. Their website breaks down that number into the many sectors they support: higher education, civic and community, disaster relief, arts, environment, etc.

Nearly $133 million is a handsome sum indeed. Because that number is so large, here’s a little attempt to put it into perspective. If you break down ExxonMobil’s profits as USATODAY did, you’ll discover that $133 million is roughly one day and 4 hours worth of its net income in the second quarter of 2006. If you take ExxonMobil’s 2005 annual net income of $36.1 billion, then their respective 2005 annual giving of $133 million amounts to about 0.37% of that year’s profits.


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