WHY BOYCOTT EXXONMOBIL, SHELL AND BP?
1. There is evidence that:
- The decision to invade Iraq was taken by Bush/Cheney prior to their 2001 inauguration;
- ExxonMobil, Shell and BP, the three largest privately-held oil companies, and at least two smaller firms, were in on discussions that led to the invasion and occupation; they may have had access to classified material prepared by the Defense Intelligence Agency, courtesy of Donald Rumsfeld, then Secretary of Defense; and
- ExxonMobil has been particularly involved in promoting the war.
2. As the three largest gasoline retailers in the United States, ExxonMobil, Shell and BP have been the largest Iraq War oil profiteers, benefiting from a run-up in world oil prices related in large part to war-related cuts in Iraq oil production and to fear in the world oil market that the war will spread.
Dean Baker, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research has estimated that 40 cents out of every $3 dollars a gallon of gasoline is war profit. This is profit not related to any increase in productivity but simply a rise in oil prices related to the war.
We estimate that the combined war profits of the Big Three over the five years of the Iraq War amounts to about $80 billion.
3. These three companies have been the largest sellers of oil to the Pentagon since the invasion in 2003, with combined sales totaling $15 billion.
4. We must close the door on war for oil to force our government to take effective steps to develop alternative energy and dramatically reduce petroleum use. We oil consumers are the only counter-weight to the political power of the oil companies, most boldly represented by ExxonMobil.
The following narrative focuses on ExxonMobil because it has been the most aggressive of all the major privately-held oil companies in fighting efforts by oil-producing nations to achieve a more fair return for their oil. Since World War II, the first totally oil - dependent war, ExxonMobil has been exceptionally successful in enlisting the diplomatic and military support of the United States government.
This is evidenced most recently in ExxonMobil’s attempt in early 2008 to beat back the Venezuelan government’s initiatives to get a higher return from its oil. Supporting an ExxonMobil court action against Venezuela, the State Department immediately said that the U.S. backs “the efforts of ExxonMobil to get a just and fair compensation for their assets according to standards of international law.”
This tight relationship between ExxonMobil and the U.S. government characterizes that of other of the oil majors, as noted by James Paul in a report for Global Policy Forum:
“Just as governments like the U.S. and the U.K. need oil companies to secure fuel for their global war-making capacity, so the oil companies need their governments’ military power to secure control over global oilfields and transportation routes. It is no accident, then, that the world’s largest oil companies are located in the world’s most powerful countries…
“All producer companies want to gain control of …lucrative profits by fair means or foul. Company rivalry typically leads beyond market-based competition. As many studies show, companies and their sponsor governments do not shrink from backing dictatorial governments, using bribery and corruption, promoting civil violence and even resorting to war, to meet their commercial goals and best their competitors.”
As the following explains, ExxonMobil, Shell and BP and some of their smaller cousins see control of Iraqi oil as critical not only to their profits but their long-term survival as the world’s largest privately-held oil companies. This is an attempt to begin analyzing their role in promoting the invasion and occupation of Iraq and how the war has benefited them to date. This inquiry is, however, just at the beginning.
The Big Three In Iraq Back in the Day
ExxonMobil, Shell and BP are the three largest oil companies in the world in terms of production and profits. (Later we will see that they are not the largest in terms of oil they control.) They are also the world’s oldest international oil companies of any kind, dating their origins to the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The Big Three got into Iraq oil in an organized way in the 1920s when they obtained the rights to produce there, operating jointly with other investors as the Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC).
The enterprise was started during the first Western occupation of Iraq, undertaken by Britain during World War I in order to capture oil that was seen as critical to the British war effort and to keep France away from the oil. In 1920 the British used poison gas, incendiary bombs and armor against an Iraqi uprising, killing thousands. The British withdrew in 1932, and Iraq declared independence. But Britain left a military force and sought to manipulate local politics. Britain took direct control again at the beginning of World War II, but Iraqis asserted control after the war.
During this period the oil companies developed Iraq’s Kirkuk oil fields in the northern part of the country. But their primary goal from the outset and into the 1960s appears to have been to block other companies and nations from fully developing Iraq’s potential. In the view of the Big Three this was needed to keep too much oil from entering the market and thus lowering oil prices.
By the 1960s, Iraqis were getting feed up with losing out on oil income, and a law was passed that withdrew IPC’s right to areas where it was not producing. This meant that these areas would be open to other oil companies. The U.S. State Department then engaged in a campaign to discourage other U.S. and European companies from trying to get into Iraq. In 1972, Iraq nationalized its oil, removing all outside firms from play.
The competition over Iraq’s oil between U.S. oil firms and those from other countries continues until this moment, and this is key to understanding the 2003 invasion and occupation.
A Little Help From Our UN
In the 1980s and 90s the rivals of the Big Three in France, Russia and even Japan and China began to make deals that led toward lucrative production-sharing agreements in Iraq, writes James Paul, of the Global Policy Forum, allowing these competitors to gain a large potential share of Iraq’s oil reserves.
Paul goes on to explain a key point: “The sanctions regime (against Iraq after the first Gulf War), enforced under the United Nations and maintained at the insistence of the US and UK from 1990 to 2003, prevented these deals from coming to fruition, thus protecting the future stake of the US-UK companies.”
Iraq Oil Looking Like Life Blood
By the 90s, the Big Three were finding life changing dramatically. Government owned, national oil companies came to control far more oil reserves – vast underground/undersea pools of oil – than the Big Three and other privately owned companies. Figure 1 shows the current reserve holdings of government-owned oil reserves compared to those of privately-owned oil companies.
“State monopolies represent the top 10 reserve holders internationally,” notes a report from the Energy Forum of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. “By comparison, ExxonMobil Corporation, BP p.l.c., Chevron Corporation and the Royal Dutch Shell p.l.c. are ranked 14th , 17th, 19thth, respectively.” and 25
The report goes on to point out an essential fact in relation to the attraction of Iraq’s oil:
“The disadvantaged position of the majors relative to the NOCs (national oil companies) in terms of reserve holdings has led to speculation about their future. The IOC’s (independent oil companies) futures…depend on their ability to develop giant oil and gas fields around the world. (Italics added for emphasis.)
Iraq is believed to have the world’s second largest oil reserves after Saudi Arabia. If ExxonMobil got access to the supergiant Majnoon oil field, estimated to hold more than 30 billion barrels, the company would more than double its current proved oil and gas reserves of 22 billion barrels (split equally between oil and gas). The company announced at the beginning of 2008 that its “reserves life at current production rates is more than 14 years.” Control of Majnoon alone would more than double this life, even with increased production rates.
One can argue that Iraqi oil is the best, last chance for the Big Three to exist in their current forms and levels of profitability past 2020.
The Iraq problem that existed for ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and lesser U.S. oil companies in the 90s was that Saddam Hussein’s government, under military siege from the United States, was working toward oil contracts with European, Russian and Asian oil companies.
James Paul, of the Global Policy Forum summarized the situation:
“In 1997-98, the U.S. companies saw the writing on the wall. With Iranian fields already slipping into the hands of competitors, such losses in Iraq threatened to reduce them to second rank and confront them with fierce international competition and downward profit pressure.”
In spite of U.S. and British military pressure on Iraq, the Hussein government signed oil contracts with U.S. competitors, and it appeared that he could not be ousted from within.
The election of 2000 introduced into this situation George W. Bush, whose family has deep involvement in the oil business. Vice President Dick Cheney also was well aware of the plight of the Big Three and smaller companies, having just left his job as president of Halliburton, an oil services company that he had involved in questionable oil deals in Russia, Nigeria and Iraq. Cheney’s chief aide, Scooter Libby, had just finished a stint representing Marc Rich, a notorious billionaire oil trader who had been saved from Federal indictment by a pardon from departing President Bill Clinton, issued his last day in office.
It is not surprising then that Paul O’Neill, Bush’s first Treasury Secretary, suggests in “The Price of Loyalty” that the decision to invade Iraq may have been made by Bush and Cheney even before the inauguration. The book, by Ron Suskind, recounts O’Neill’s experience in the Bush Administration and was written with the full cooperation of O’Neill and based on interviews, notes and documents provided by him.
The book reports that on January 30, 2001 at the first meeting of the National Security Council, Iraq was on the top of the agenda.
“He (Bush) turned to Rice (Condoleezza Rice, then head of the NSC staff). ‘So, Condi, what are we going to talk about today? What’s on the agenda?’
“’How Iraq is destabilizing the region, Mr. President,’ Rice said, in what several observers understood was a scripted exchange. She noted that Iraq might be the key to reshaping the entire region.”
The group then looked over intelligence information on Iraq, including aerial photos that were said to show evidence of chemical and biological weapons production. At the end of the hour meeting, the book says, assignments were given to those attending, including evaluating the possibilities of an invasion of northern and southern Iraq.
As O’Neill reflected on the meeting, the book reports, he thought:
“Was this a matter of simply completing what the first Bush Administration had left undone? Was a multi-pronged assault on Saddam Hussein really a priority in early 2001? The dialogue today had been mostly about hows - how to weaken or end Saddam’s regime. With the administration at the start of it’s second week, O’Neill wondered, when, exactly the whys – why Saddam, why now, and why this was central to U.S. interests – were to be discussed.”
At the next meeting of the NSC on February 1, the briefing materials focused completely on Iraq. At that meeting, the book continues, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld talked about “post-Saddam Iraq, dealing with the Kurds in the north, the oil fields, the reconstruction of the country’s economy, and the ‘freeing of the Iraqi people.”
Cheney Meets with ExxonMobil’s Lee Raymond
This is the context in which Cheney met for 30 minutes on February 8, 2001 with Lee Raymond, then chief executive officer and chairman of the board of ExxonMobil, according to the New York Times. This was the day before the first meeting of Cheney’s National Energy Policy Development Group, which came to be called the Cheney Energy Task Force.
The Times also reported: “ExxonMobil officials also met with the (Cheney) task force staff members for 45 minutes on February 14 and made a presentation about future energy supply and demand.”
We don’t know what Cheney and Raymond discussed or what ExxonMobil officials presented to the task force because Cheney won a court battle to keep task force documents secret. We do know two things of considerable interest.
First, Lee Raymond denied in May, 2004 to TV interviewer Charlie Rose that ExxonMobil was consulted by or was part of the Cheney Task Force. According to the Washington Post, Raymond made the same denial again in November, 2005 before a joint hearing of the Senate Energy and Commerce Committee. Officials of Chevron and ConocoPhillips made similar denials, and the The Post noted: “The president of Shell Oil said his company did not participate ‘to my knowledge,’ and the chief of BP America Inc. said he did not know.” Spokespersons for all the companies except ExxonMobil later made full or partial retractions of the denials. http://www.washingtonpost.com
The Post then obtained White House logs that showed representatives of all the companies except Chevron met with the task force during the period from February 14 – March 22, 2008. http://www.washingtonpost.com
The other interesting item about the task force is that it apparently had access to documents prepared by the Defense Intelligence Agency for the National Security Council.
Although, as noted above, Cheney fought successfully in court to keep the documents of the task force secret, through a suit filed by Judicial Watch and the Sierra Club, some of the task force papers have been made public, including maps of oilfields in Iraq and a list of non-U.S. firms, competitors to U.S. big oil, who wanted to do business in Iraq.
“Documents were being prepared by the Defense Intelligence Agency, Rumsfeld’s intelligence arm, mapping Iraq’s oil fields and exploration areas and listing companies that might be interested in leveraging the precious asset.
“One document, headed ‘Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts,’ lists companies from 30 countries – including France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom – their specialties, bidding histories, and in some cases their particular areas of interest. An attached document maps Iraq with markings for ‘supergiant oil field,’ ‘other oil field’ and ‘earmarked for production sharing,’ while demarking the largely undeveloped southwest of the country into nine ‘blocks’ to designate areas for future exploration. The desire to ‘dissuade’ countries from engaging in ‘asymmetrical challenges’ to the United States – as Rumsfeld said in his January articulation of the demonstrative value of a preemptive attack – matched with plans for how the world’s second largest oil reserve might be divided among the world’s contractors made for an irresistible combination, O’Neill said later.”
A National Security Council (NSC) document, coming out of the White House, dated February 3, 2001, cited by Jane Mayer in the New Yorker, directed the NSC staff to cooperate with the (Cheney) task force as that group considered “’melding…the review of operational policies toward rogue states’, such as Iraq, and ‘actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields.’”
Mayer quoted a Clinton NSC staffer: “…if his (Cheney’s) little group was discussing geostrategic plans for oil, it puts the issue of war in the context of the captains of the oil industry sitting down with Cheney and making grand, global plans.”
It appears possible, if not likely, that military plans and other classified materials generated in the Defense Department were made available to oil industry officials.
Raymond Joins, Supports War Hucksters
In December, 2002, just three months before the U.S./U.K. invasion of Iraq, Raymond became the vice chair of the board of the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington think tank that has been most prominent in justifying and promoting the invasion and occupation of Iraq. He remains on that board.
The Tiger in the Tanks, published in February 2003, documents hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by ExxonMobil on AEI and other pro-war think tanks and gives a thorough description of ExxonMobil’s powerful political role in U.S. foreign policy and its interests in Iraq oil. (ttp.//www.stopesso.com/pdf/tigerinthetanks.pdf.)
William R. Howell, a member of the ExxonMobil board of directors is also a member of the board of Halliburton, which has had joint ventures with ExxonMobil and which has made billions from Iraq war contracts.
Nosing Under the Oil Tent
In the fall of 2002, shortly before Raymond joined AEI, the U.S. State Department was working on pre-invasion plans that appear to have included consideration of a new oil law for Iraq involving what are known as production sharing agreements (PSAs). A portion of the report of the State Department’s oil and energy working group that was prepared in November 2002, gives very favorable mention to PSAs, citing experience in Russia. The full membership of the oil and energy work group was never revealed.
The praise of the Russian PSAs in the State Department document is evidence of work by the International Tax & Investment Centre (ITIC), a corporate lobbying group in which ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and other major oil companies are sponsors. ITIC has focused on the former Soviet Union as well as significant oil producers Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Ukraine. In 2004, the group publicly advocated the use of PSAs in Iraq.
Crude Designs:The Rip-Off of Iraq’s Oil Wealth, by Gregg Muttitt, who disclosed the devastating impact of the U.S.- drafted Iraqi oil law on Iraqis, estimates that the PSAs would bring major oil profits ranging from 42% to 162% compared to the 12% that is normally considered profitable. (ww.globalpolicy.org/security/oil/2005/crudedesigns.htm)
PSAs were designed as a way of disguising long-term contracts that put oil companies’ basic control over oil reserves as simple assistance contracts. These allow a nation like Iraq to say it has full control over its oil when in fact it does not. PSAs are used where oil reserves are small, reports Crude Designs. But countries with large reserves, such as Kuwait, Iran, Saudi Arabia do not use PSAs, in large part because they have so much oil that they can fund their own oil development, not needing the oil majors.
On the Ground with the Troops
(British and American troops prepare to invade Iraq – 2003)
Crude Designs reports that the major oil companies, including ExxonMobil, were quick to get on the ground in Iraq immediately after the invasion. In fact, the report says, Gary Vogler, formerly of ExxonMobil, and Phillip Carroll, formerly of Shell, were in Kuwait in January 2003, before the invasion started, having been appointed as advisors to the Coalition Provisional Authority, the body formed by the U.S. and U.K. to run occupied Iraq.
The report continues:
“Carroll described his role as not only to address short-term fuel needs and the initial repair of production facilities, but also to:
“’Begin planning for the restructuring of the Ministry of Oil to improve its efficiency and effectiveness; [and]
“’Begin thinking through Iraq’s strategy options for significantly increasing its production capacity.’”
(Former Shell employee Phillip Carroll (left), the Coalition Provisional Authority’s senior advisor to the Iraq Oil Ministry, meets post-invasion with Dr. Thamir Gadban, CEO of the Oil Ministry and Brig. Gen. Robert Crear, Task Force RIO commander to review a memorandum of agreement for restoring Iraq’s pre-war oil production capacity. (U.S. Army photo))
In July, 2003, Bahr al-Uloum, who had been a member of the State Department oil working group the previous fall, was appointed by the CPA as Iraq’s Oil Minister.
Five Years Later - “Especially American Investments”
ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Valero and Marathon now import Iraqi oil for refining in the U.S. What they and other oil companies seek in the oil law and related regulations now before the Iraqi parliament is significant, long-term control over at least two-thirds of Iraqi’s discovered and yet-to-be-discovered oil reserves at prices more favorable than they pay in most other nations. Congress has established passage of the oil law as one of the benchmarks by which it will measure progress of the Iraqi government.
The oil firms are also looking to lock in with the Iraqi government an understanding that U.S. oil companies will be given preference for access to Iraq’s oil as part an agreement on long-term U.S. military presence in Iraq. The current draft of the agreement says it will facilitate and encourage “the flow of foreign investments to Iraq, especially American investments,” thus the preference of U.S. oil companies. The Bush Administration wants to sign this agreement in July 2008 without Congressional approval.
But in 2008, five years after the invasion, the reality for the oil companies is uncertainty about investing in Iraq because of continuing violence and because the Iraqi Parliament has yet to pass the U.S. – designed oil law that would make way for the PSAs sought by Big Oil and resolve disputes among Iraqis about who will benefit from their oil.
It appears possible, however, that the U.S. may provide military protection to get major companies into Iraq’s supergiant oil fields even before the stalled oil law is passed. In mid-March, 2008, Gen. David Petraeus, commander of the Multi-National Force Iraq, called “large Western” oil and gas companies, according to United Press International (UPI), to encourage them to invest in Iraq.
The general’s spokesperson, Col. Steven Boylan, would not reveal to UPI which companies had been called, but the wire service reported:
“Sometimes to get the ball rolling it takes a senior leader to engage other senior leaders in the corporate world to have a discussion” on the realities of security in Iraq, Boylan said. Boylan added it’s part of the U.S. effort to help Iraq’s government build its capacity. He said the level of security for these companies depends on the area of the country.”
(Supertanker loading at Basra. Iraq oil terminal in June 2003. Under the protection of the US Navy. - US Navy photo)
The need for Petraeus to talk directly to the oil firm leaders is remarkable, suggesting that their conversations with Iraqi and U.S. State Department officials did not give them the confidence they need to move into Iraq, especially facing resistance to the oil law from oil workers and others. Given this resistance, was the general jeopardizing his troops by openly supporting the oil companies, and did he reveal military plans to the companies? Sensitivity to the inappropriateness of the general’s involvement in the oil business is suggested by Boylan’s failure to use the word “military” in his statement about a “senior leader to engage other senior leaders in the corporate world.”
But even though ExxonMobil and major firms do not yet have the highly profitable access to huge reserves that they seek, they have nevertheless made war super-profits.
CNN reported just prior to the announcement of ExxonMobil’s 2007 profit that: “For every $1 (a barrel increase) in the price of oil, Exxon makes (another) $125 million for the quarter…Exxon is expected to make $39.2 billion for all of 2007, just shy of its previous record of $39.5 billion in 2006, which breaks down to the company earning about $75,000 a minute.” The profit announced was $40.6 billion
Dean Baker, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, estimates that $20 - $30 a barrel in the current price of oil can be traced to: (1) the loss of at least one million barrels a day of Iraqi oil production due to the war; and (2) “the additional uncertainty about supplies created by the war.”
“If (oil) prices were 10 – 20 percent lower, Exxon’s profits might be 20 – 30 percent lower,” Dr. Baker said. If that estimate is applied to ExxonMobil’s 2007 $40.6 billion profit, we can say that about $10 billion of the 2007 figure is war profit.
Over the five-year Iraq War period, ExxonMobil’s profits have totaled $163 billion, of which $38.8 billion can be said to be war profits, based on Dr. Baker’s evaluation.
The same standard applied to Shell’s and BP’s profits indicated that their war profits combined total about $41 billion. These war profits, added ExxonMobil’s war profit total almost $80 billion.
He estimates that at $3 a gallon for gasoline, 40 cents of the cost represents war profit.
Dr. Baker, who has testified before Congress on the oil industry, specializes in evaluating the social costs of political decisions, studying housing, Social Security and Medicare, as well as oil.
In “The Three Trillion Dollar War”, Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes say:
“…if America went to war in the hope of securing cheap oil, we failed miserably. We did, however, succeed in making the oil companies richer. ExxonMobil and other oil companies have been among the few real beneficiaries of the war, as their profits and share prices have soared. Meanwhile, the economy as a whole pays a big price.”
They point out that “Americans have had to spend about 5 percent more of their income on gasoline and heating oil than before (the Iraq War).”
The total cost to the U.S. consumer of just half the oil price rise over the last five years, projected to 2015 will, they say, be “somewhat in excess of $1.6 trillion.” This suggests the need for continual government emergency bailouts for public such as the $150 billion passed in 2008.
(Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes)
Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel Prize for economics in 2001 and a former chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, teaches economics at Columbia University.
Professor Bilmes, former Assistant Secretary and Chief Financial Officer of the U.S. Department of Commerce, teaches public finance at Harvard’s Kennedy School.
Filling up the Military, More Profit
ExxonMobil benefits greatly from the Iraq War not only because of the inflation of oil prices but because it is among the largest sellers of petroleum products to the Pentagon. ExxonMobil received more than $4.2 billion from sales to the U.S. military between FY 2003 and 2007. The other two top sellers to the Pentagon for this period are: Shell - $5.6 billion; and BP - $4.7 billion.
Closing the Door to War for Oil
As long as the U.S. government is allowed to use military force to secure oil, the nation will likely not be forced to seriously address the need to develop alternative energy sources and decrease oil consumption through developing mass transit and freight transport and changing living patterns to reduce automobile use, among other steps.
To close the door on war for oil, it is important to address directly the power of major oil companies in the Congress.
ExxonMobil, like other companies, influences government directly through campaign contributions and lobbying. They also work indirectly, as in its underwriting of a major social event two months after 9/11 that was ostensibly to raise funds for work on HIV/AIDS in Africa. “Virtually the entire American power structure was represented,” according to former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill. The event, said O’Neill “was as much as anything, in support of the Saudis at a moment when they desperately needed to remind Washington’s elite of the abiding nature of their friendship.”
ExxonMobil consistently ranks among the top contributors to federal candidates and parties in the oil and gas sector. It’s total campaign contributions from 1990 to 2008 amounted to $9.5 million dollars, with the peak level of contributions in the 2000, $1.38 million; the presidential campaign year that put George W. Bush into office. George Bush is the top recipient of ExxonMobil contributions at $118,417.
The ExxonMobil contribution pattern from 1990 to 2008 has coincided with that of the entire oil and gas sector.
During this period, 86 percent of ExxonMobil’s contributions have gone to Republican candidates. (http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.asp?ID=D000000129&Name=Exxon+Mobil)
ExxonMobil’s Chairman and CEO, Rex Tillerson, has made political contributions to Republican political committees and candidates totaling $36,150 since 2000, with $18,700 so far going to political action committees and Republican candidates in Texas for the 2008 election. (http://www.campaignmoney.com/finance.asp?type=in&cycle=&criteria=)
ExxonMobil has contributed to the major 2008 presidential candidates as follows:
|Candidate||Total oil & gas||Exxon Mobil||ExxonMobil’s Rank among Candidates'
oil & gas contributors
|Barack Obama||$163,840||$23,500||#1 #2 BP - $5,596|
ExxonMobil’s spending on lobbying in Washington has totaled $82 million between 1998 and 2007; the top such spending of any oil company. In 2007, ExxonMobil paid lobbyists $16.9 million; twice the money spent by the second largest spender on lobbying, Chevron, at $8.9 million. Lobbying spending in 2007 by BP and Shell was $4.6 million and $1.58 million, respectively. (http://www.opensecrets.org/lobbyists/index.asp)
Summing up on ExxonMobil, Open Secrets.org reports:
“The company has long enjoyed a close relationship with Congress, successfully lobbying to gain commercial access to federal lands s well as the rollback of several Environmental Protection Agency initiatives deemed unfriendly to the oil industry. Perhaps the company’s biggest coup, however, was winning federal support for its very creation. In 1999, lawmakers were initially hesitant to allow Exxon to purchase Mobil because of antitrust concerns, but after heavy lobbying from both sides, not to mention the support of President Bill Clinton, the merger was approved and the nation’s no. 1 supplier of gasoline was created. As oil prices have soared, so have ExxonMobil’s profits and executive salaries.
In 2006, Ralph Nader spoke of “our oil-marinated Congress and White House.”