Thursday, July 31, 2008

Freedom to Profit on Middle East Oil

ExxonMobile's record quarterly earnings report of nearly $12 billion should have thrown cold water on Bush's expanded drilling push. But George W. was never stopped by the facts. That means further digging.

Does anyone else recall big oil executives testifying to the uses of their massive profits? "We're putting the money back into exploration and research." How do those words stand up?

Exxon spent $816 million on R & D in 2007. They pumped $1.47 billion into worldwide exploration. These sound like huge numbers but pale in comparison to a $40.6 billion bottom line, $56 billion in positive cash flows, and $390 billion in gross revenues.

So what did the company do with all that cash? They paid $7.6 billion in dividends and bought $28 billion back in stock. This trend continued with a gross $8.8 billion of share repurchases in the second quarter alone. That's $35.6 billion to shareholders in 2007, 15 times the total for exploration and R & D.

A look at ExxonMobile's exploration is insightful, given the Bush push to drill more domestically. Exxon spends more to find oil in America than it does in the whole Middle East!

U.S $280 million
Canada/South America $264 million
Europe $164 million
Africa $470 million
Asia/Middle East $226 million
Russia/Caspian $67 million

My guess is ExxonMobile would love access to Iraq and Iran’s oil fields. But it’s just a guess!