Financial Performance of the Major Oil Companies, 2007-2011 [February 17, 2012]   [open pdf - 242KB]

"Periods of high oil prices are usually associated with reduced economic growth, a deteriorating foreign trade balance, and rising prices. High gasoline prices, the most tangible result of high oil prices for consumers, reduce discretionary family income and influence decisions with respect to automobile choice and use. However, for companies involved in the oil industry, high oil prices generally result in expanding revenues and cash flow, and in some cases, record profit levels. While the oil industry is composed of hundreds of firms of various sizes doing business in different aspects of the oil supply chain, many characterize the industry through the performance of the five major integrated oil companies: ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP plc, Royal Dutch Shell plc, and ConocoPhillips. These companies are involved in all aspects of the oil supply chain from exploration and production through transportation, refining, and retail marketing, both in the United States and globally. They are also very large relative to the rest of the industry, and large even when compared to the economy as a whole; in 2011 their revenues were equivalent to over 10% of U.S. gross domestic product. This report examines the financial performance of the five major oil companies for the period 2007-2011. Both the sources and uses of revenue and profit are analyzed. The recent behavior of oil prices and company profits have led to changes in the structure of the market for oil in the United States which could have implications for gasoline prices and availability, and energy security. These issues are also analyzed in this report."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R42364
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