earnings graphic

A look at ExxonMobil in 2013

ExxonMobil closed the books on a strong performance in 2013 with our year-end earnings announcement yesterday. The corporation earned $32.6 billion for our shareholders on total revenues of $438 billion – or earnings of 7.4 cents for every dollar of revenue.

There’s a lot of information in our 14-page news release, but I thought I would pull out some of the highlights:

$62.6 billion – That’s ExxonMobil’s direct contribution to the U.S. economy in 2013 in terms of taxes, capital and operating expenditures, and returns to shareholders. ExxonMobil’s direct contribution to the U.S. economy was seven times higher than our U.S. earnings, which were $9.1 billion for 2013. Our indirect contributions are vast, supporting American competitiveness, manufacturing, and improved standards of living.

$42.5 billion – That’s how much ExxonMobil invested in 2013 to find and produce new supplies of oil and natural gas around the globe. About a quarter of that was invested in the United States, which helps explains why an organization like the Progressive Policy Institute would applaud ExxonMobil as a top corporate “Investment Hero” for capital spending that spurs job and economic growth.

$9.8 billion – This is ExxonMobil’s U.S. tax expense for 2013, a figure exceeding our U.S. earnings of $9.1 billion. That’s approximately $817 million for federal, state, and local governments each month. I’ll break it down further. That’s a U.S. tax expense of nearly $27 million every single day of 2013, and it’s why a recent analysis identified ExxonMobil as the top corporate taxpayer in the United States.

35 percent – ExxonMobil’s effective U.S. tax rate in 2013.

5.5 cents – That’s how much ExxonMobil earned in 2013 for every gallon of gasoline and other products we refined, shipped, and sold in the United States. Compare that to 40 to 60 cents per gallon collected by the federal, state, and local governments in gasoline taxes.

I highlight these numbers because our corporation’s and our industry’s earnings are so often the topic of discussion, usually in the context of tax and energy policy at the federal and state levels.

In too many instances, the policy debates and political commentary that mention oil industry finances and taxes get the facts wrong, often wildly so.

If our country is going to have productive discussions about the choices our elected officials make, then everyone needs to be armed with the facts and cognizant of the extraordinary achievements and contributions of our company and industry.


5 Comments

Already have a username? Log in to comment. First-time commenting? Sign up to create your username. It's easy, and we won't share your information.

  1. Stephen Spencer says:

    Very good perspective!

  2. jerry flores says:

    Would you care to tell us how much your were subsidized in 2013, either with subsidies, or preferential tax treatment?

    • Ken Cohen says:

      The answer is zero.

      Neither ExxonMobil nor the U.S. oil and gas industry as a whole receives subsidies from the federal government. Nor do we receive preferential tax treatment – in fact, in several instances large oil and gas companies like ExxonMobil have been singled out by Washington to be specifically disadvantaged compared to other industries.

      I understand there is confusion on these issues, sown in part by politicians playing fast and loose with the facts. So let me repeat something I wrote two years ago in response to statements President Obama made singling out ExxonMobil for supposedly receiving subsidies:

      What the president refers to as subsidies for companies like ExxonMobil are actually legitimate tax provisions that apply to many organizations and many industries across the board. The best example of so-called industry subsidies – and the one that critics usually cite first – is the manufacturing income deduction under section 199 of the tax code. This is no subsidy at all; it’s a deduction available to virtually every American manufacturer – whether you refine oil into gasoline or make cars or toasters or microprocessors or even if you produce Hollywood movies. In fact, the scope of this deduction is actually less for oil and gas producers than for other manufacturers.

      For more information, read here or here. And see the American Petroleum Institute’s fact sheet on this issue for even more detail.

  3. Richard Harris says:

    Mr. Cohen, I think you may have missed your calling… ever considered politics? Oh, that’s right, not as much money in that! The fact is that every expenditure you list was paid for by me and the rest of us who consume your products, not ExxonMobil. The idea that job creation and these expenditures is some altruistic heroic endeavor is laughable. You do these things because they make your company money. The more of these things you do, the more money you make. The oil industry sold our culture, over the previous few decades, on a commuter based society where a 15 to 25 mile drive to work was not a big deal. It wasn’t a big deal, at $1.00 per gallon, or 1-2 gallons a day. However, at $3.46 per gallon it represents a major household budget stressor. I actually pay more for gasoline each year, with only a 12.5 mile commute, than I do for electricity! Your industry has demonstrated a merciless monopolistic hold over the American economy. It is the only industry I can think of where when your costs increase for labor, or raw materials, or production, or transportation to market, or taxes, or repairs of catastrophic damage to your infrastructure, or litigation, or all of the above… one thing never changes, your profit! That’s because you pass all of these costs directly through to your consumers, with a nice little chunk of profit figured in. Wow! Where do I find work like that?!?

    • Rich Carlson says:

      Mr. Harris, it seems to me you’ve mis-addressed this response. Didn’t you really mean to send this to your Rep in Congress?

      Let’s see:

      - The Federal Government makes a 12 cent profit (more than twice what the company takes)

      - Your state government takes a whopping 20 cents (NJ) to 58 cents (CA) on top of that

      Personally, I’d like to run a racket like THAT! No work all profit..and BIG profit…only the Government gets to steal on this scale

      BTW, as to who twisted your arm into a 12.5 mile commute, I suspect those pesky roads had something to do with it. Who built those?
      Oh yeah… bad government!

      Personally, I just wish our government would actually use the gas tax for what it was intended – to maintain the bridges, roads and other infrastructure we depend on as a civilization instead of using it to balance the books for losing propositions like public transit.

      With a 12.5 mile commute you can easily kiss Mr. Cohen goodbye with a Chevy Volt or other electric vehicle (and get in on “free road use” at the same time!). Not everyone else can.

      Mr. Cohen – thanks for the interesting infographics. I won’t leave you without criticism — you’re not a gas company, you’re an energy company. I’d love to see 1 cent of that 5.5 in profit devoted to alternative energy systems and delivery as pure R & D — there’s been almost no improvement in battery tech since the LION was introduced and Hydrogen fuel systems require massive infrastructure investments. Either of those two areas are places Exxon could work to make the world a better place.

      Eventually, the oil runs out. We all know it, it’s just a matter of when. Creating ways to transition off oil (while still making a reasonable profit) would be… read more »

      …a true value-add to our civilization.

  4. Stephen Spencer says:

    Very good perspective!

  5. jerry flores says:

    Would you care to tell us how much your were subsidized in 2013, either with subsidies, or preferential tax treatment?

    • Ken Cohen says:

      The answer is zero.

      Neither ExxonMobil nor the U.S. oil and gas industry as a whole receives subsidies from the federal government. Nor do we receive preferential tax treatment – in fact, in several instances large oil and gas companies like ExxonMobil have been singled out by Washington to be specifically disadvantaged compared to other industries.

      I understand there is confusion on these issues, sown in part by politicians playing fast and loose with the facts. So let me repeat something I wrote two years ago in response to statements President Obama made singling out ExxonMobil for supposedly receiving subsidies:

      What the president refers to as subsidies for companies like ExxonMobil are actually legitimate tax provisions that apply to many organizations and many industries across the board. The best example of so-called industry subsidies – and the one that critics usually cite first – is the manufacturing income deduction under section 199 of the tax code. This is no subsidy at all; it’s a deduction available to virtually every American manufacturer – whether you refine oil into gasoline or make cars or toasters or microprocessors or even if you produce Hollywood movies. In fact, the scope of this deduction is actually less for oil and gas producers than for other manufacturers.

      For more information, read here or here. And see the American Petroleum Institute’s fact sheet on this issue for even more detail.

  6. Richard Harris says:

    Mr. Cohen, I think you may have missed your calling… ever considered politics? Oh, that’s right, not as much money in that! The fact is that every expenditure you list was paid for by me and the rest of us who consume your products, not ExxonMobil. The idea that job creation and these expenditures is some altruistic heroic endeavor is laughable. You do these things because they make your company money. The more of these things you do, the more money you make. The oil industry sold our culture, over the previous few decades, on a commuter based society where a 15 to 25 mile drive to work was not a big deal. It wasn’t a big deal, at $1.00 per gallon, or 1-2 gallons a day. However, at $3.46 per gallon it represents a major household budget stressor. I actually pay more for gasoline each year, with only a 12.5 mile commute, than I do for electricity! Your industry has demonstrated a merciless monopolistic hold over the American economy. It is the only industry I can think of where when your costs increase for labor, or raw materials, or production, or transportation to market, or taxes, or repairs of catastrophic damage to your infrastructure, or litigation, or all of the above… one thing never changes, your profit! That’s because you pass all of these costs directly through to your consumers, with a nice little chunk of profit figured in. Wow! Where do I find work like that?!?

    • Rich Carlson says:

      Mr. Harris, it seems to me you’ve mis-addressed this response. Didn’t you really mean to send this to your Rep in Congress?

      Let’s see:

      - The Federal Government makes a 12 cent profit (more than twice what the company takes)

      - Your state government takes a whopping 20 cents (NJ) to 58 cents (CA) on top of that

      Personally, I’d like to run a racket like THAT! No work all profit..and BIG profit…only the Government gets to steal on this scale

      BTW, as to who twisted your arm into a 12.5 mile commute, I suspect those pesky roads had something to do with it. Who built those?
      Oh yeah… bad government!

      Personally, I just wish our government would actually use the gas tax for what it was intended – to maintain the bridges, roads and other infrastructure we depend on as a civilization instead of using it to balance the books for losing propositions like public transit.

      With a 12.5 mile commute you can easily kiss Mr. Cohen goodbye with a Chevy Volt or other electric vehicle (and get in on “free road use” at the same time!). Not everyone else can.

      Mr. Cohen – thanks for the interesting infographics. I won’t leave you without criticism — you’re not a gas company, you’re an energy company. I’d love to see 1 cent of that 5.5 in profit devoted to alternative energy systems and delivery as pure R & D — there’s been almost no improvement in battery tech since the LION was introduced and Hydrogen fuel systems require massive infrastructure investments. Either of those two areas are places Exxon could work to make the world a better place.

      Eventually, the oil runs out. We all know it, it’s just a matter of when. Creating ways to transition off oil (while still making a reasonable profit) would be… read more »

      …a true value-add to our civilization.