Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Musings 67--Big oil gets fatter...

With hurricanes ravaging the Gulf of Mexico, the big oil refineries have shut down and must now be jump started before production can continue. Mr. President says that gas will probably go up as a result. He has once again tapped into the oil reserves.

Now it is clear that when refineries close down there will be a lag in gasoline production. However, before the hurricanes big oil companies were enjoying the largest profits in their greasy little histories.

Exxon Mobil shows a 32 percent increase in earnings over this time last year. (See link) That equates to $7.6 billion dollars in the third quarter of 2005. BP had a 38 percent profit of $6.7 billion, and Conoco Phillips recorded a 56 percent increase in third quarter profits of $3 billion.

When demand is tight in any other product, the federal government jumps in to make sure that no one does price gouging. Last year when the hurricanes hit Florida and building supplies were at a premium, the feds made sure that lumber yards charged the going rate for plywood and particle board. I wonder how come they haven't looked into excessive pricing of gasoline? Besides, big oil has shown huge profits not just in the third quarter this year but in the first and second quarter also. It is a good year to be big oil with a big oil president. It is not so nice to be a consumer. Three dollar gas takes a bit out of everyone's wallet.

Big oil also reaped a $6 billion dollar benefit from the new energy bill that just passed the congress. Hey, you say, it's the free market system at work. Well...not exactly, for you see there is no free market in big oil. The big guys control it all. If you are a little oil guy you can't get the needed permits to drill or the refineries to process your oil without owing big oil. They control it all. There are about five companies that rule the big oil universe. Maybe it is time that the congress looked into anti-trust legislation that break up the big oil companies like they did the big airline industries. Of course, the airline industry did not have one of their own as President of the United States.

Isn't it nice to know that big oil is getting fatter while your personal worth is shrinking away. It makes me warm and fuzzy...oh, wait, I'm not too warm because heating oil is the next thing that will be going through the roof. This winter heating costs will more than likely ruin entire families that cannot pay their bills. It will probably make gasoline look like a bargain. Stay tuned this episode is just beginning.

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