Invest_Heroes_Feature_10-2013

Who are the heroes of the U.S. economy? Look to the energy sector.

For the third year in a row the Progressive Policy Institute has assembled its list of “Investment Heroes” – those companies it salutes for investing in America’s future.

And for the third year in a row, what stands out is the significant contribution to America’s economic future being made by the energy industry.

The institute’s index charts the top 25 nonfinancial U.S. companies by estimated U.S. capital expenditure for 2012. Of those 25 corporations on this year’s list, eight are energy companies (six oil and natural gas firms, two electric power generators), with a combined 2012 capital investment of $56 billion. ExxonMobil is high on the list and we’re proud to be contributing to the country’s success.

Our contribution to the American economy

As the institute notes, ExxonMobil alone invested $12 billion on capital projects in the United States last year.

But our contribution to the U.S. economy goes far beyond that. It also includes $18 billion in operating expenditures, $12 billion in taxes, and $26 billion in returns to shareholders.

That adds up to a direct contribution by ExxonMobil to the U.S. economy of $68 billion in 2012.

Another way to say that is that every single week last year, ExxonMobil directly added $1.3 billion into the domestic economy – a contribution that comes on top of our work to help provide the energy and petrochemicals the economy requires in order to function. That’s worth remembering the next time a politician or critic targets so-called Big Oil for special tax increases, which could diminish that contribution.

The other seven energy companies on the Progressive Policy Institute’s “Investment Heroes” list have similar stories to tell about their support for our economy.

Energy’s contribution underrepresented on PPI list

Speaking of the eight energy companies in the top 25, it’s worth mentioning that the institute admits its methodology does not accurately measure the energy sector’s role. In fact, it significantly under-represents our industry’s contribution by only considering companies from the top 150 in the 2013 Fortune 500, to keep the findings comparable with last year’s results.

The group acknowledges that if it extended consideration to those companies numbered 151-200 on Fortune’s list, then at least three more energy and power companies, with a combined 2012 capital spending of $14.6 billion, would have cracked the top 25. That would have boosted the energy industry’s capital spending figure to more than $70 billion.

Institute president Will Marshall was correct when he wrote recently in USA Today that “it will take a more dynamic private sector and a more strategic public sector to create the conditions for America’s economic comeback.” The companies that make up America’s energy sector are clearly doing our part.


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  1. John Shepard says:

    And these heros who make our lives on this earth possible (Thank you, ExxonMobile!) need a philosophical hero to defend them.

    For one such hero: Alex Epstein (Center for Industrial Progress: http://industrialprogress.com/)

    “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels” (PDF): http://industrialprogress.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/The-Moral-Case-for-Fossil-Fuels.pdf

  2. John Shepard says:

    And these heros who make our lives on this earth possible (Thank you, ExxonMobile!) need a philosophical hero to defend them.

    For one such hero: Alex Epstein (Center for Industrial Progress: http://industrialprogress.com/)

    “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels” (PDF): http://industrialprogress.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/The-Moral-Case-for-Fossil-Fuels.pdf