I was out driving just taking it slow / Looked at my tank, it was reading low / Pulled in a [BP] station out on Highway 1 / Held up without a gun / Held up without a gun . . . Bruce Springsteen (1980)


BP’s 2010 first quarter profits were $5.6 billion, a 135 percent increase over the first quarter of 2009

While BP scrambles to clean up its mess in the Gulf of Mexico with one hand, it’s raking in money with the other, just like its big four partners in the oil business. Daniel J. Weiss and Susan Lyon report at Grist.org:

Much of the U.S. economy is slowly recovering from a deep recession, but oil companies continue to prosper. The big five oil companies—BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell—announced huge first quarter profits—four of the five companies announced profits larger than analysts predicted. As the chart below shows, big oil saw profits in the first quarter of 2010 that far eclipse analysts’ projections and are significantly higher than 2009 profits as well.

BP’s 2010 first quarter profits were $5.6 billion, a 135 percent increase over the first quarter of 2009. This profit was 50 percent higher than predicted by The Financial Times. Shell announced that its profits had risen by 49 percent since the first quarter of 2009. Chevron’s profit was $4.6 billion, a 156 percent increase, while ConocoPhillips had $2.1 billion in profits. The world’s largest private oil company, ExxonMobil, had a first quarter profit of $6.8 billion, which was 38 percent more than 2009.

Keep reading “Big Oil Continues to See Big Profits, Pollution, While Americans Get Robbed at the Pump.”

At the same time, as we noted last week, ExxonMobil, with a profit of $45 billion last year, paid no federal corporate income taxes in 2009. (But Exxon’s not alone: the Government Accountability Office reported that between 1998 and 2005, “two out of every three United States corporations paid no federal income taxes.”) According to Forbes, the oil giant Chevron, with pretax income of $18.5 billion, paid the U.S. just $200 million in income tax in 2008.

It seems reasonable to us that the federal government would have more resources with which to monitor BP and other oil firms’ operations—and to respond to the catastrophes they cause—if it were taking in more tax revenue, or any at all.


Here’s The Boss singing “Held Up Without a Gun


[ BP logo art above by Thee Ass Hooked Whitey ]