Exxon Mobil

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Controversies

Avoiding Tax in Chile

For 23 years Exxon operated the Compañía Minera Disputada de Las Condes copper mine in Chile at a reported loss, and hence paid no taxes at all to the Chilean state; instead it reaped US$575 million in tax credits. Though Exxon acquired the mine for US$ 80 million, it would in 2002 (as Exxon Mobil) sell the supposedly loss-making operation to Anglo American for US$ 1.3 billion, indicating that the mine was indeed highly profitable and that its true profits were hidden from the Chilean state. Under the guise of making interest payments to a subsidiary, Exxon exported Compañía Minera Disputada de Las Condes' profits from Chile to Bermuda --a notable tax-haven.[1]

Industry Areas

Worldwide

The main activities of the ExxonMobil Group are exploration, production, transportation and sale of crude oil and natural gas as well as the manufacture, transportation and sale of petroleum products.

The group also manufactures and markets petrochemicals and participates in coal and minerals mining, and electric power generation.

In 2000, 82% of the revenues came from refining and marketing, 10% from exploration and production, 8% from Chemicals, and other revenues were nominal. [2]

UK

Exploration and production is the largest business area of Esso in the UK. However, most of it is done as joint ventures with Shell - with Shell as the operator - so Esso isn't very visible. Compared to Exxon globally, the downstream and chemical part of their operations are smaller, at 5% of total. Esso UK is the market leader in retailing and has the biggest refinery in the UK.

Market share/importance

Worldwide

Exxon is the biggest non-state-owned oil and gas company in the world. According to the Time & Fortune Group's 2001 Fortune Global 500 list of the largest companies by revenue, it is the biggest corporation. [3] Worldwide it employs over 100,000 people.

Petroleum is mostly sold through Exxon's/Esso's service stations of which they have 45,000 in 118 countries. Aviation fuel is sold at more than 700 airports in 80 countries. ExxonMobil Marine Fuels serves more than 300 ports in 70 countries. [4]

UK

Esso is the biggest petrol retailer in the UK with 1620 stations, of which 878 are company owned. Around 70% of the population live within a mere two miles of an Esso petrol station. According to Esso, their Snack 'n' Shop chain (part of their petrol stations) is the largest chain of shops in the oil industry.

Esso produce 10% of UK oil and gas, while over 15% of all oil products used in Britain come from their refinery in Fawley. As for gas, Esso supplies almost 9% of the total gas used by UK consumers.

Esso employs about 2,800 people. Added to that amount is the significant number employed by subsidiary companies and contractors working on Esso sites and projects.

History

Worldwide

(This is brief summary and does not go into the history of the different ExxonMobil companies.)

The history of Exxon and Mobil is that of a true corporate giant. It started when John D. Rockefeller and partners formed the Standard Oil Company in 1870. By 1878 Standard Oil controlled 95% of the US refining capacity. [5] This had largely been achieved by swallowing all competitors, and getting secret rebates from oil and making 'drawback' agreements with the railroad. [6] In 1989, Standard Oil officials were indicted for violating state anti-monopoly laws. Standard Oil was not convicted, but this marked the beginning of several attempts to curb its power.

In 1882 the Standard Oil Trust was formed. It was the first trust ever formed and was constructed to circumvent Ohio laws restricting ownership of out-of-state companies. In 1890 the Sherman Antitrust Act was passed largely in response to Standard Oil's monopoly. The US Supreme Court finally broke up the Standard Oil trust in 1911 into 34 different companies. The ownership group, however, stayed largely the same. Two of the spin-off companies were Jersey Standard and Socony, the chief predecessor companies of Exxon and Mobil respectively. Over the years the two companies spread their interests to all over the world. [7]

During the 1930s, when Walter C. Teagle was head of Standard Oil, the company forged close ties with IG Farben, a firm that supported the Nazis and used concentration camp labour. Charles Higham (a former New York Times writer and biographer) writes in his book Trading With the Enemy: "From the 1920s on Teagle showed a marked admiration for Germany's enterprise in overcoming the destructive terms of the Versaille Treaty. His lumbering stride, booming tones, and clouds of cigar smoke became widely and affectionately known in the circles that helped support the rising Nazi Party." [8] Exxon Mobil's website prefers to describe how "Each company [Jersey Standard and Socony-Vacuum] beefed up refining output to supply the Allied war effort." [9]

In 1931 Socony purchased assets of Vacuum Oil and changed its name to Socony-Vacuum. Socony-Vacuum became Socony Mobil Oil Co. in 1955 and, in 1966, simply Mobil Oil Corp.

Jersey Standard changed its name to Exxon Corporation in 1972 and established Exxon as a trademark throughout the United States. In other parts of the world its affiliated companies continued to use the Esso trademark.

In the 1970s, Exxon, Mobil and other companies escalated exploration and development outside the Middle East - in the North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, Africa and Asia. [10]

The biggest public scandal to hit Exxon so far came with the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 (see Case Study and Corporate Crimes).

In 1998, Exxon and Mobil signed a definitive agreement to merge and form a new company called Exxon Mobil Corporation. "This merger will enhance our ability to be an effective global competitor in a volatile world economy and in an industry that is more and more competitive," was the comment of Lee Raymond and Lou Noto, chairmen and chief executive officers of Exxon and Mobil respectively. After shareholder and regulatory approvals, the merger was completed in November 1999. [11]

UK

Esso started as the Anglo-American Oil Company in 1888, producing oil for kerosene lamps. It was only in 1951 that they became known as Esso. Following the merger of Exxon and Mobil in December 1999, it is now a part of the Exxon Mobil Corporation.

Esso has now finalised an alliance with Tesco. Although Tesco claims that it no longer sourcs its petrol from Esso in its own brand petrol stations, their alliance sees Tesco Express forecourt shops on the grounds of Esso petrol stations.

Products/Projects

Products

The core of Exxon Mobil's business is oil and gas. Petroleum is mostly sold through Exxon's/Esso's service stations. Aviation fuel is sold at airports, and ExxonMobil Marine Fuels serves ports.

Exxon Mobil is the world's largest non-governmental marketer of equity natural gas. [12]

It is also the world's leading marketer of finished lubricants, using the brand name Mobil, [13] and the world's largest wholesaler of helium. [14]

Exxon Chemical products include plastics, oriented polypropylene film, synthetic rubber, fluids, plasticizers, basic chemical building blocks such as ethylene, ethylene glycol, propylene and paraxylene, fuel and lubricant additives and synthetic lubricant base stocks. [15]

Projects

Oil and gas exploration all over the world. Coal extraction and mining on two continents.


Involvement in education reform

Exxon is involved in a number of organisations and initiatives that support education system reform that benefits corporate education providers.

People

Meetings with ministers

According to the Guardian, between 2010 and 2014 fossil fuel companies ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, Total, ConocoPhillips, Chevron and trade organisation Oil & Gas UK had at least 230 meetings with ministers. This figure is a significantly higher number than meetings with renewable energy companies and their campaign groups - with Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth having just 67 meetings between them.[2]

Donations

Lobbying firms

Former lobbying firms

Affiliations

Exxon Mobil was a donor to the Science Media Centre from 2004-2005 and 2007-2010 according to the SMC.[7]

Resources

External resources

Notes

  1. Education & Workforce Committee, BRT website, accessed August 2015
  2. Rob Evans, Helena Bengtsson, Damian Carrington and Emma Howard Shell and BP alone eclipse renewable energy sector on access to ministers Guardian, 28 April 2015, accessed 29 April 2015.
  3. Cherie Blair Foundation Donors and partners, accessed 30 March 2015
  4. Register 1st September 2014 - 30th November 2014 APPC, accessed 29 January 2015
  5. Register 1st December 2014 - 28th February 2015 APPC, accessed 9 March 2015
  6. Register for 1st March 2013 - 31st May 2013 APPC, accessed 28 January 2015
  7. Data from Internet Archive holdings of the Science Media Centre website, 2002-2013.

References

  1. ^ Manuel Riesco, Gustavo Lagos & Marcos Lima, The “Pay Your Taxes” Debate: Perspectives on Corporate Taxation and Social Responsibility in the Chilean Mining Industry, pp. 13-15, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, Technology, Business and Society Programme Paper Number 16 October 2005, accessed 20 October 2011
  2. ^ Corporate Information
  3. ^ http://www.fortune.com, viewed 31/08/01
  4. ^ ExxonMobil annual report 2000, p.19
  5. ^ Corporate History, p.427
  6. ^ Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller Sr., by Ron Chernow, gives a more detailed explanation of this. Read it online at http://www.micheloud.com/FXM/SO/rock.htm
  7. ^ Corporate History, p.427
  8. ^ 'Exxon: The Oil King', John Summa, published by Multinational Monitor, http://www.essential.org/monitor/hyper/issues/1989/01/mm0189_10.html
  9. ^ ExxonMobil's web site (accessed 10 July 2007; previous link referenced was discontinued)
  10. ^ ibid.
  11. ^ ibid.
  12. ^ ExxonMobil annual report 2001, p. 14
  13. ^ ExxonMobil annual report 2001, p. 17
  14. ^ ExxonMobil annual report 2001, p. 14
  15. ^ ExxonMobil website