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Project on Government Oversight




Sen. Hutchison Says Oil is "on its knees" But Royalty-Evaders Make $9.2 Billion Profits in 1st Half of 1999

September 20, 1999 


According to the Department of Interior, oil companies bilk the taxpayers of $66 million annually in fees known as "royalties" for drilling oil from public and Native American lands. As recently as September 8th, the Senate will consider an amendment introduced by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison to hold hostage a new Interior rule to fix the royalty-collection problem. Senator Hutchison has characterized Big Oil as "an industry already on its knees." Yet, top companies responsible for 99% of all federal oil royalty-evasion made $9.2 billion in profits during the first six months of 1999.

Shell $19,459,159 $766,000,000
Exxon 7,993,222 2,225,000,000
Chevron 7,111,509 679,000,000
Texaco 6,375,000 273,000,000
Marathon 5,225,380 253,000,000
Mobil 3,978,051 1,347,000,000
BP Amoco (3) 3,565,187 1,495,000,000
Conoco 2,444,738 197,000,000
Phillips Petroleum 2,334,420 138,000,000
Amerada Hess 1,446,901 148,036,000
Pennzoil-Quaker 1,416,140 4,083,000
Unocal 1,358,282 16,000,000
Murphy 778,351 9,022,000
ARCO 718,384 478,000,000
TOTAL FINA (4) 520,605 773,300,000
Coastal 470,939 55,100,000
Koch Industries 342,222 est $350,000,000 (5)
Hunt Oil 125,731 Not available (6)
Total $65,538,490 $9,206,241,000

















(1) Congressional Record-Senate, p. 10395, September 10, 1998.
(2) From forms filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission at and information at company web sites.
(3) Royalties evaded for BP and Amoco are combined for their recent merger.
(4) Royalties evaded for Total Petroleum and Fina are combined to account for their recent merger.
(5) Forbes magazine estimates that annual profits are $700 million.
(6) Because Hunt Oil is privately held, information on its profits is not publicly reported to the SEC.

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO's investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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