ConocoPhillips: Millions in Washington Lobbying Preserves Billions in Big Oil Subsidies

ConocoPhillips Oil Spill China

ConocoPhillips Company is an American multinational energy corporation headquartered in Houston, Texas.  With 2010 revenues of over $196 billion and earnings of over $19 billion, they rank #3 on the Fortune 500 list.  ConocoPhillips is the fifth largest private sector energy corporation in the world, and is one of the six “supermajor” vertically integrated oil companies.  It sells fuel under the Conoco, Phillips 66 and Union 76 brands in North America, and Jet in Europe.

ConocoPhillips was a business partner of the late Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi, who once “…summoned ConocoPhillips Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James J. Mulva to Sirte, Qaddafi’s hometown in northern Libya [for] ‘a half-hour browbeating,’ according to a March 12, 2008, cable written by Chris Stevens, U.S. charge d’affaires for Libya.”

ConocoPhillips is currently a business partner of Communist China, who has also been taking the company to task over a recent oil spill that has “…polluted 5,500 sq km [2,124 square miles] of Bohai Bay, the most serious marine ecological incident in China.”

ConocoPhillips gets much better treatment in Washington DC, where since 2001 they have pumped over $68 million into lobbying and made millions more in direct campaign contributions to preserve their petro-privileged status, e.g.:

“[High] prices at the pump are only part of Americans’ Big Oil bill.  They also pay more than $4 billion in unnecessary tax subsidies for domestic oil drilling and production every year.  These subsidies are wasteful and expensive.  Oil companies produce oil regardless of whether they receive these tax breaks, and they would still realize enormous profits without federal handouts…  Yet Big Oil’s representatives in Congress stubbornly defend Big Oil giveaways even if it means cutting deep into popular, important programs to make up for the cost.  The House-passed fiscal year 2012 budget would cut Medicare spending by $30 billion over a decade, for example, while maintaining $40 billion in tax breaks to Big Oil over the same period…  Of course, it’s no coincidence that so many members of Congress consistently defend tax loopholes for Big Oil.  Oil companies spend millions of dollars pressuring Congress to keep their taxpayer-funded subsidies intact.  They’ve already spent $40 million on lobbying so far this year, and of all the oil and gas lobbying spenders in 2011, four of the Big Five oil companies – ConocoPhillips, Shell, ExxonMobil, and Chevron – claimed the top four spots.”

“ConocoPhillips announced their 2011 second-quarter earnings, reporting profits of $3.4 billion, bringing their total profits in the first six months of 2011 to $6.4 billion.  Below is a quick look at ConocoPhillips, by the numbers:

* ConocoPhillips has spent over $6 million lobbying Congress in 2011, ranking in as the fourth largest spender this year.

* ConocoPhillips has contributed $53,600 to federal campaigns in 2011…

* ConocoPhillips devoted $1.6 billion of its $3 billion 2011 first-quarter earnings to stock buybacks – more than 50 percent of its profit.

* ConocoPhillips’ Chairman and CEO James Mulva received a 25-percent hike in compensation last year, earning him a total compensation of $17.9 million.

It’s kind of an amplifying carbon-cycle feedback.  Rake in billions from consumers, use the money to buy influence to maintain tax breaks.  And as a bonus, any deficit cuts have to come at the expense of … consumers.  Talk about win-win for Big Oil!”

“The Political Economy Research Institute ranks ConocoPhillips number 11 on their list of the 100 worst U.S. polluters, higher than any other energy company.”

ConocoPhillips is scheduled to break up into two companies – one for production and one for refining – in 2012:

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