The watchdog Accountable.US revealed that the biggest oil companies operating in the United States raked in a collective $290 billion in profits last year while they "consistently prioritized shareholder returns over alleviating the pressure of high energy prices."
According to the report—which analyzed 26 oil companies doing business in the U.S.—the $290 billion in collective 2022 Big Oil profits marked a 126% increase from the previous year. Fossil Fuel giants including BP, Shell, and Chevron more than doubled their net income in 2022, while smaller players like Murphy Oil And Southwestern Energy saw respective increases of 1,410% and 7,496%.
"With $290 billion in profits, Big Oil made enough money in 2022 to end world hunger, pay off U.S. medical debt...but instead used their record profits to shower $163 billion on shareholders with plans to give even more in 2023," Accountable.US said.
The industry spent over $163 billion on stock buybacks and dividends. Even as Big Oil executives complain about supposedly lower-than-desired margins in 2023, oil and gas companies have already publicly announced plans to buy at least $160 billion in stock backs starting this year to enrich their wealthy shareholders further.
"Despite the industry's bald-faced lies, Big Oil's never-ending greed was the central force driving the industry's obscene price gouging," said Accountable.US director of energy and environment Jordan Schreiber.