Oil majors sweat as profits plunge

By Branko Brkic 30 October 2009

There won’t be too many tears shed for big oil - except, perhaps by former Alaskan governor and vice-presidential hopeful, Sarah Palin - after the majors reported big drops in profit following a record-breaking feast of profits lasting more than five years.

Along with many of the world’s giant banks, quarterly profits at the likes of Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon, BP and PetroChina have exceeded the GDP of many of the world’s poorest countries. Shell, Europe’s biggest oil company, saw a 62% drop in profit in the third-quarter of 2009 to $3.25 billion, from $8.45 billion in the same period last year. Shell was accused of making obscene profits in 2007 (by all sorts of people, not just trade unions), when it had annual earnings of $27.6 billion, beating a 2006 record of $25 billion. By contrast, US outfit Exxon Mobil, the world’s biggest company by market value, reported a profit of $45.2 billion for 2008, breaking its own record of $40.6 billion in 2007. But now its third-quarter earnings have fallen 65%, as oil prices see-sawed in the eye of the global recession. Its profits came in at $4.73 billion for the quarter ending 30 September. London-based BP said its net income fell 34% to $5.34 billion in 2009, after beating analysts’ estimates for the past three quarters. It posted third-quarter earnings of $4.67 billion. Crude oil has averaged $59 a barrel in New York in 2009, compared with $99.75 in 2008. Oil prices hit record highs above $147 a barrel in July 2008, but plummeted to about $30, before rising sharply again. It’s been a roller-coaster.

By Mark Allix

Read more:  NYT, Bloomberg, Times Online UK, BBC, Shell, Guardian, Huffington Post, DPA, Guardian

Watch Pauli van Wyk’s Cat Play The Piano Here!

No, not really. But now that we have your attention, we wanted to tell you a little bit about what happened at SARS.

Tom Moyane and his cronies bequeathed South Africa with a R48-billion tax shortfall, as of February 2018. It's the only thing that grew under Moyane's tenure... the year before, the hole had been R30.7-billion. And to fund those shortfalls, you know who has to cough up? You - the South African taxpayer.

It was the sterling work of a team of investigative journalists, Scorpio’s Pauli van Wyk and Marianne Thamm along with our great friends at amaBhungane, that caused the SARS capturers to be finally flushed out of the system. Moyane, Makwakwa… the lot of them... gone.

But our job is not yet done. We need more readers to become Maverick Insiders, the friends who will help ensure that many more investigations will come. Contributions go directly towards growing our editorial team and ensuring that Daily Maverick and Scorpio have a sustainable future. We can’t rely on advertising and don't want to restrict access to only those who can afford a paywall subscription. Membership is about more than just contributing financially – it is about how we Defend Truth, together.

So, if you feel so inclined, and would like a way to support the cause, please join our community of Maverick Insiders.... you could view it as the opposite of a sin tax. And if you are already Maverick Insider, tell your mother, call a friend, whisper to your loved one, shout at your boss, write to a stranger, announce it on your social network. The battle for the future of South Africa is on, and you can be part of it.


Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or if you are already an Insider.


Denel boss says Gigaba told him to ‘look after the Guptas’

By Jessica Bezuidenhout

By the time of his death in 1987, Hitler's deputy Rudolph Hess was the sole prisoner in Spandau prison, a facility designed for 600.