Category Archives: ExxonMobil

>Supreme Court Hands ExxonMobil A Big Payday

> The U.S. Supreme Court’s death penalty ruling will probably grab all the headlines, but let’s not overlook this mulit-billion dollar payday they handed ExxonMobil today:

The Supreme Court on Wednesday also cut the $2.5 billion punitive damages award in the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster to $500 million.

The court ruled that victims of the worst oil spill in U.S. history may collect punitive damages from Exxon Mobil Corp., but not as much as a federal appeals court determined.

Justice David Souter wrote for the court that punitive damages may not exceed what the company already paid to compensate victims for economic losses, about $500 million compensation.

Exxon asked the high court to reject the punitive damages judgment, saying it already has spent $3.4 billion in response to the accident that fouled 1,200 miles of Alaska coastline.

A jury decided Exxon should pay $5 billion in punitive damages. A federal appeals court cut that verdict in half.

And the SCOTUS cut that verdict even further.

If there were any doubt about the corporate-friendly stance of the U.S. Supreme Court, this should put it to rest. It’s been 19 years since the ExxonValdez disaster, which destroyed the livelihood of thousands. And the SCOTUS just handed the people of Alaska a big “fuck you,” while ExxonMobil earned $1,300 per second in 2007.

Is anyone surprised? Of course not:

Steve Smith, a 69-year-old Cordova fisherman, worries that big business will prevail.

“I really wonder, what do you do if you don’t get a just decision out of the Supreme Court,” he said on his boat Prince William. “I mean, there’s no other court to take it to. What do you got left, really? Anarchy?”

Well, that’s one alternative.

Elections have consequences. A President Al Gore or President John Kerry would not have put Samuel Alito or John Roberts on the SCOTUS.

Something to keep in mind.

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Filed under corporations, Exxon Valdez, ExxonMobil, Supreme Court

Mission Accomplished!

[UPDATE]:

Jennifer Johnson of WSMV just sold this deal as “cheap gas for Tennesseans–eventually!”

Just shoot me now.
———————————–
No one could have anticipated this:

Deals With Iraq Are Set to Bring Oil Giants Back

BAGHDAD — Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq, 36 years after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power.

I bet you didn’t know that Saddam Hussein threw Western oil companies out of Iraq 36 years ago, did you? I didn’t either. Funny how these things never really came up in the run-up to war. But I digress.

Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company — along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq’s Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq’s largest fields, according to ministry officials, oil company officials and an American diplomat.

The deals, expected to be announced on June 30, will lay the foundation for the first commercial work for the major companies in Iraq since the American invasion, and open a new and potentially lucrative country for their operations.

The no-bid contracts are unusual for the industry, and the offers prevailed over others by more than 40 companies, including companies in Russia, China and India. The contracts, which would run for one to two years and are relatively small by industry standards, would nonetheless give the companies an advantage in bidding on future contracts in a country that many experts consider to be the best hope for a large-scale increase in oil production.

Isn’t that special! The four largest Western oil companies are preparing to sign no-bid contracts in Iraq, bringing them back to a position they had 36 years ago. Is that some long-range planning or what!

This is an interesting turn of events, since the last time an American oil company was signing deals in Iraq, the Bush-connected Hunt Oil of Dallas, the Bush Administration was none too happy that the news had leaked out, since it would undermine the Iraqi government’s attempts to write an oil revenue sharing law. President Bush himself claimed to “know nothing about the deal,” but hey, he always claims to know nothing about everything so that’s no surprise.

This deal certainly looks bad, since critics of the American invasion have said all along that the occupation of Iraq is and always has been about the oil. Well, duh.

For their part, the oil companies claim they are “helping Iraq rebuild its decrepit oil industry.” It’s a humanitarian gesture! They get nothing out of it, nothing at all!

Er, except this:

The first oil contracts for the majors in Iraq are exceptional for the oil industry.

They include a provision that could allow the companies to reap large profits at today’s prices: the ministry and companies are negotiating payment in oil rather than cash.

Mission accomplished! Heckuva job, Bushie!

Look, if invading and occupying Iraq to secure their oil reserves for Western oil companies is part of our energy security policy, then why didn’t they just tell us that? Why not be honest about it? Why tell us our soldiers are dying for some big cause like spreading Democracy across the Middle East, or fighting terorrism? That’s obviously bullshit.

And I have to wonder if this timely announcement, coming as Americans are feeling the tightest gasoline pinch in decades, wasn’t somehow intentional. Americans are more likely to support invading a foreign country to secure their oil when gas is at $4.50 a gallon than at $1.50 a gallon.

Anyway, this proves that we DFH’s on the left were right all along: we’re in Iraq for oil, and you wingnuts who bought the administration line about mushroom clouds and mobile weapons labs were all a bunch of chumps. You do not deserve to be listened to about anything ever again. Yes, I am talking to you, William Kristol, and you Fred Hiatt, and all of the Little Green Snotballs and Johnny Assrocket and all the rest of you Kool-Aid drinkers. You were fed lies by the Administration, hey we all were, but you were the idiots who believed them.

And God help us if you and your cohorts in the GOP are ever allowed near the reins of power again.

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Filed under ExxonMobil, Hunt Oil, Iraq War, oil, oil industry

Rockefellers Urge ExxonMobil To Go Green

There’s been an amazing development in the Corporate Overlord department this week, one mentioned little in the press since it doesn’t concern flag pins or rabid preacher types. However, it does concern America’s energy future, so I hope we’re all paying attention.

In short, it looks like one of America’s oldest dynasties is trying to put the fear of God in ExxonMobil:

Members of the Rockefeller family took a fight with Exxon Mobil Corp. public Wednesday, challenging the oil giant spawned by John D. Rockefeller to split the roles of chairman and chief executive and focus more on renewable energy.



The family members, who call themselves the company’s longest continuous shareholders, said they are concerned that Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil is too focused on short-term gains from soaring oil prices and should do more to invest in cleaner technology.
 Separating the leadership roles, they argue, would better position the company for challenges to come.


”They are fighting the last war and they’re not seeing they’re facing a new war,” said Peter O’Neill, the great-great-grandson of John D. Rockefeller who heads the family committee dealing with Exxon Mobil.

Wow. Let me offer a hearty round of applause–and thanks–to the Rockefeller family. The Rockefellers have sponsored four proxy resolutions–all of which the Board of Directors recommend a vote “against,” I might add–which would push the company in a green direction.

Frankly, being the indoctrinated little capitalist that I am, I always assumed ExxonMobil, Chevron and the rest would have led us to our new energy future by now, seeing as how their own futures depend on it (in fact, I wrote about it here).

That they haven’t is extremely disappointing to me. Call it my wake-up to the ways of the world, akin to learning there is no Santa Claus: corporations are only focused on short-term profits, I now realize; the long-term is someone else’s problem (a philosophy echoed by our “MBA President,” I might add). Just look at GM and Ford over the past 20 years: at least where American corporate giants are concerned, short-sightedness is a feature, not a bug.

Anyway, shareholder resolutions are notoriously ineffective, since most are non-binding, so even if a resolution gets passed the board can still do what it wants anyway. I tend to vote for them regardless, especially the ones related to executive compensation and human rights or environmental issues. The board needs to know how we feel.

But the Rockefeller resolutions are especially powerful, since they have become so public. ExxonMobil is in a sense the Rockefeller family business, so this is a very public smackdown of a corporation that continues to rake in obscene profits: another $11 billion in the first quarter of this year, in fact.

That’s billion, with a “B.” Profit, not gross.

One gets the sense that the ExxonMobil folks are pigs feeding at the trough, instead of corporate leaders guiding America into her new energy future.

When we aren’t debating lame-brain ideas like summer “gas tax holidays” or drilling in a national wildlife refuge with so few oil reserves even Big Oil isn’t interested, we’re toppling unfriendly Middle Eastern dictators. Does this make sense to anyone?

Meanwhile, European countries are jumping to the front of the technology line. Thomas Friedman shared this dire news in Wednesday’s column:

While all the presidential candidates were railing about lost manufacturing jobs in Ohio, no one noticed that America’s premier solar company, First Solar, from Toledo, Ohio, was opening its newest factory in the former East Germany — 540 high-paying engineering jobs — because Germany has created a booming solar market and America has not.

In 1997, said Resch, America was the leader in solar energy technology, with 40 percent of global solar production. “Last year, we were less than 8 percent, and even most of that was manufacturing for overseas markets.”

There is money to be made in alternative energy, and jobs to be created. But President Bush and the Republicans in the Senate wouldn’t even extend solar and wind energy tax credits, although they left the ones for oil and gas.

With $11 billion in profits for one quarter, why the hell do the oil companies need tax credits? This makes no sense. Our utter lack of leadership in Washington will have dire repercussions for years to come.

Maybe proposals like the Rockefellers’ will have some impact. For heaven’s sake, no one would confuse them with a bunch of tie-dye wearing, pot-smoking hippies, right?

For crying out loud, we have to get off the oil tit. America’s future depends on it. Do we really want to be the Portugal of the new millenium?

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Filed under energy future, ExxonMobil, oil industry, Rockefellers, stockholder proposals