WASHINGTON, Jan 31 (Reuters) – The White House on Tuesday expressed outrage on Tuesday at Exxon Mobil Corp’s record net profit in 2022 of $56 billion, a historical high not just for the company but for the entire Western oil industry.
Oil majors are expected to break their own annual records due to high prices and soaring demand, pushing their combined take to near $200 billion. The scale has brought renewed criticism of the oil industry and sparked calls for more countries to levy windfall profit taxes on the companies.
A White House statement said Exxon’s (XOM.N) profit margin was particularly galling as Americans paid record high prices at the pump. It criticized attempts by Republicans in the House of Representatives to push policies aimed at supporting the oil industry.
“The latest earnings reports make clear that oil companies have everything they need, including record profits and thousands of unused but approved permits, to increase production, but they’re instead choosing to plow those profits into padding the pockets of executives and shareholders while House Republicans manufacture excuse after excuse to shield them from any accountability,” the White House said.
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President Joe Biden has blasted oil companies and refiners for much of the last year for enjoying surging profits as gasoline prices soared. In June, he Biden wrote to executives of major oil refiners and complained they had cut back on production to pad profits, according to a copy of a letter seen by Reuters.
Exxon’s CFO Kathryn Mikells responded to growing criticism over the industry’s windfall profits and suggested the answer is not increased taxes.
“We look at the EU tax on the energy sector, and you know, it’s just unlawful and bad policy trying to tax something, when what you actually need is for it to increase,” Mikells said. “It has the opposite effect of what you’re trying to achieve.”
Reporting By Trevor Hunnicut and Steve Holland; additional reporting by Jarrett Renshaw and Sabrina Valle; Editing by Franklin Paul and David Gregorio
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