"One year and one week after BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded, killing 11 workers and spilling an estimated five million barrels - or 206 million gallons - of crude oil spewed into the Gulf over the course of the next three months, BP reported its net profit rose 17 percent in the first quarter. The UK oil company said its profits rose to $7.12 billion, up from $6.08 billion a year earlier.
Ain't that a piece of wonderful news?
Stripping out one-time charges and other variables, BP's net profit came in at $5.37 billion. Given higher oil and gas prices, BP also said its total revenue for the first quarter rose more than 18 percent to $88.31 billion - that's up from a mere $74.42 billion. Impressive, considering production fell by 11 percent. The company also took an additional $400 million pre-tax charge related to the Macondo well spill.
On this day it's all about asset sales and share swaps and exploration deals and dividend suspensions and production. On this day, our business news giants choose to forget about the 11 fallen workers, they forget about the 206 million gallons spilled into the Gulf, they forget about the dead dolphins washing ashore with oil covering their bodies.
All that matters is the bottom line.
President Barack Obama earlier this week proposed the socialist step of eliminating subsidies to oil and gas companies, which can be calculated as high $4 billion. Republicans, ever the friend to business, argue that despite the explosive profit and revenue we see reported every quarter, these subsidies are wholly necessary to keep the energy industry competitive.
Even House Speaker John Boehner seemed to veer from the GOP talking points, though, saying this week that at a time when government is short on cash, oil companies should pay "their fair share." His aides, however, said he doesn't necessarily favor subsidy repeals across the board.
"The speaker wants to increase the supply of American energy and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and he is only interested in reforms that actually lower energy costs and create American jobs," Boehner's spokesman Michael Steel said afterward. "Unfortunately, what the president has suggested so far would simply raise taxes and increase the price at the pump."
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, "While we certainly are glad to see companies making a profit, we do not believe that given the size of those profits - record profits, in some cases - that they need to be subsidized by the American taxpayer. Especially in these times of constrained budgets and especially when we need to use some of those dollars to invest in clean-energy technology, so that we can build the industries of the future, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create jobs in America.”