Press Release

Sep 7, 2011

Profits and Pink Slips: New Report Details How Big Oil is Cutting Jobs, Not Creating Them

WASHINGTON (September 8, 2011) - A new report by the Democratic staff of the Natural Resources Committee calls into question the claims of oil and gas companies that they are dedicated to American job creation and helping American consumers and the country emerge from its fiscal crisis. The report details the huge profits earned by the major oil companies have actually led to sizeable decreases in the U.S. and global workforces of the companies, even as huge areas are available for productive exploration for oil and gas.

The report, "Profits and Pink Slips: How Big Oil and Gas Companies Are Not Creating U.S. Jobs or Paying Their Fair Share" included these major findings:

  • Despite generating $546 billion in profits between 2005 and 2010, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, and BP combined to reduce their U.S. workforce by 11,200 employees over that time.
  • Just in 2010 alone, the top five oil companies (the above four, plus ConocoPhillips) reduced their global workforce by a combined 4,400 employees, while making a combined $73 billion in profits.
  • Even with these job losses, the top five companies paid their senior executives a total of nearly $220 million in 2010.
  • Taxpayers will hand out nearly $100 billion in tax breaks and loopholes to oil and gas companies in the coming decades.

"Americans are seeing a huge cut of their paycheck go to pay for gas, a little more then goes to fund tax cuts for the same oil companies selling the gas, and then the oil companies take this money and cut American jobs," said Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), the Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Committee. "Oil companies that make record profits and then cut American jobs strain their own credibility when they claim to be huge job-creators."

Oil companies continue to claim that they need additional places to drill to hire more workers, yet the industry has failed to even drill on the land they currently have available to them, calling into question their assertions. Currently, oil companies are no producing on 60.5 million acres onshore and offshore. Onshore, oil companies have more than 7,100 approved permits to drill that they haven't used.

Ending major tax breaks and drilling loopholes could contribute about $100 billion to deficit reduction. Some of these tax breaks have been on the books for nearly 100 years. And a loophole currently allows dozens of companies to drill in the Gulf of Mexico without paying royalties, which could cost American taxpayers up to $53 billion in the coming decades unless the loophole is closed.

"Oil company executives should stop asking for their next bonus and start helping Americans who are looking to keep Social Security and Medicare intact, or trying to find a job," said Rep. Markey. "It's time for the big oil companies to stop taking from American taxpayers, and start hiring American workers."