EnergyFactor By ExxonMobil | Pespectives has a new home

More to our quarterly earnings than just profits

ExxonMobil reported quarterly earnings today of $9.5 billion. We are proud of our success, of earning strong returns for our shareholders and of the hard work that goes into satisfying the vital energy needs of customers around the world.

Here are a few important facts.

ExxonMobil had $22.6 billion in worldwide tax expenses during the quarter. In the United States, ExxonMobil’s tax expenses of $2.8 billion for the past three months exceeded our U.S. earnings, which were $2.7 billion.

If that sounds like a lot, that’s because it is. According to Forbes magazine, ExxonMobil pays more in taxes than any other corporation. Three of the top 10 largest corporate tax payers are energy industry companies.

Indeed, America’s energy industry pays more in taxes than other sectors of the economy. Between 2007 and 2012, according to the American Petroleum Institute, the oil and natural gas sector paid an effective tax rate of 44.6 percent compared with 34.9 percent for health care companies, 30 percent for industrials and 29.3 percent for banks and insurance companies. Simply put, our industry is the federal government’s largest taxpayer.

As for our industry’s profits, consider this quote from U.S. News & World Report: “Over the past five years, average net income in the oil and gas industry has averaged about 8 cents for every dollar of sales according to S&P, roughly in line with U.S. Census data for the broader manufacturing sector. More recently, that’s fallen to about 5.5 cents on the dollar compared to 7.7 cents on the dollar for manufacturing.”

I’d also highlight two other noteworthy items from our earnings announcement. ExxonMobil’s capital spending during the quarter was $11.8 billion as we continue to invest in projects and create high-paying jobs to meet the world’s rising energy demand. ExxonMobil also returned $7.6 billion to shareholders in the form of dividends and share buybacks, providing income to millions of mutual fund holders, retirees and pensioners across the country.

All of this points to an enormous economic contribution on the part of ExxonMobil. Indeed, in 2012, our direct contribution to the United States economy was $68 billion. That is $1.3 billion a week or $186 million every day.

That direct contribution to the U.S. economy was seven times greater than our 2012 U.S. earnings of $9.7 billion.

Keep these numbers in mind whenever critics cite the size of our profits without any context as justification for socking oil companies with higher taxes.

  • Worth a deeper look...