The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Energy, Earnings and Governments' Fair Share

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted April 29, 2011

Energy companies are reporting their quarterly financials this week, which is providing fodder for those who prefer to play politics rather than enact good policies. The typical line we hear from politicians is that company earnings are proof that a fair share is not being given to government, but focusing on just the bottom line obscures the true picture. Let's take one release as an example.

We see that ConocoPhillips reported first-quarter earnings of $3.0 billion or $2.09 per share. But a look at the full release shows that this $3.0 billion comes on total revenues of $58.25 billion - a 5.18% return. In other words, ConocoPhillips works hard for their money. We also see that ConocoPhillips paid $4.36 billion in taxes other than income taxes and paid or accrued $2.75 billion in income taxes.

To put this in the proper perspective, for every $1 that went to shareholders, $2.35 went to governments.

Let the fair share discussion continue...


Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.