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Politicians fume as Exxon profits soar to U.S. record
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Houston Chronicle

Houston Chronicle, July 31, 2008
Posted: August 8th, 2008

Exxon Mobil Corp. jumped into the political fray Thursday as its $11.7 billion record quarterly earnings and $8 billion in share buybacks raised hackles in Washington. "They tell us they want to do more domestic production," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. "They tell us they need to drill offshore. They tell us that they can find oil on the mainland. And what do they do with their profits? They buy back stock, simply to increase their share price." Democrats argue that producers already hold 68 million acres of federal lands on which they are not producing oil or gas. Irving-based Exxon Mobil, the world's largest oil company, was the fourth major oil giant to release quarterly results. Hours earlier, Royal Dutch Shell, based in the Netherlands, announced a 33 percent increase in profit. Houston-based ConocoPhillips last week announced a 13 percent increase in net income during a quarter in which oil prices rose from about $100 to $140 a barrel. London-based BP announced a 28 percent profit increase on Tuesday. Analysts ... focused less on Exxon Mobil's profits than on its 8 percent drop in production. The world's largest oil companies ... are benefiting from record-high oil prices. Exxon Mobil increased spending on capital and exploration projects by 38 percent in the quarter to $7 billion. It also spent $8 billion buying back its own shares and reported $39 billion in cash on hand. A Democratic analysis of the top five oil company's expenditures from 2004 through 2007 found that the majors plowed about $181 billion into stock buybacks, nearly three times as much as they spent on U.S. production activity.

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