Los Angeles, California – Chevron, infamous for wreaking environmental havoc from the Amazon to California, reported refining profits of $2.5 billion in the third quarter of 2022.
This almost doubles their harvest compared to the same quarter of the previous year. Half of this amount came solely from refining operations in the United States, according to the company’s financial statements.
“But consumers won’t learn that Chevron’s share of profits come specifically from California when a new state refiner transparency law takes effect,” Consumer Watchdog said in a press release today.
The group said Chevron, one of the fossil fuel industry’s biggest spenders lobbying the state each year, is the only one of California’s Big Five oil refiners not to report quarterly earnings per gallon. refining on the west coast.
“California’s new Refiner Transparency Act will lift the curtain on Chevron’s huge hidden profits,” said Liza Tucker, director of energy and environment at Consumer Watchdog. “We don’t yet know how much Chevron made per gallon of gasoline, which is key to determining how much they will owe California for their windfall profits if the legislature passes such a reform. But we’ll find out once the new Oil Refiner Cost Transparency Act takes effect in January. »
The Transparency Act, SB 1322, requires a monthly report of specific California refiner profits per gallon. “This will give the state a way to monitor price gouging in real time and, if a price gouging rebate is passed, return excess profits to drivers in the form of a rebate,” Tucker said.
In Chevron 3rd quarterly investor presentation, the company’s chief financial officer, Pierre Breber, noted that market demand for oil and gas was unprecedented. “We’re in a market that we haven’t seen in my career in terms of supply and demand tension,” he said.
Covid has caused some refineries to close around the world and others to switch to making renewable diesel, Breber continued. A few California refineries are actually offline and being converted to make this fuel.
“Overall, Chevron is making more money by making less gasoline,” Tucker said. Its U.S. downstream operations posted third-quarter profits of $1.29 billion, supported by higher refined products margins, compared to just over $1 billion in the year-to-date period. last. But Chevron slashed its crude oil inflows by 13% in the third quarter from a year ago, mostly due to “planned shutdowns” at refineries.
Consumer Watchdog estimates that the amount of windfall profits to be returned to consumers by refiners reported so far this year is now nearly $1.5 billion, not including Chevron windfall profits, which will only be reported to the end of the year. See the calculation.
“The formula used to calculate windfall profits is every dollar of profit made above 50 cents per gallon, which has only been hit by a refiner three times in the past 21 years – each time by Chevron,” noted Tucker. View the historical earnings report here.
“Chevron is the largest refiner in the state and is also the most opaque when it comes to providing earnings-per-gallon data,” Tucker said. “That’s why the Transparency Act was a crucial first step and why it’s so important to have the legislative session in December that Governor Newsom called for capping and allowing rebates.”
Chevron reported net income of $11.2 billion in the third quarter, nearly doubling the $6.1 billion in the same quarter last year. Operating profits specifically from oil and gas soared 81% this quarter from the same quarter last year to $9.3 billion.
“Refiners Valero and PBF Energy announced quarterly results earlier this week that provided a date to estimate refining earnings per gallon. PBF Energy hit 78 cents per gallon—about 50% higher earnings in California than anywhere else in the country where it operates.
Valero West Region Benefits that only come from California refineries exceeded 60 cents per gallon,” Tucker concluded.
Chevron has been able to get away with what it’s doing in California because it’s been the second biggest spender most years lobbying the legislature, agencies and other state officials, at side of the Western States Petroleum Association.
The WSPA, Sacramento’s largest and most powerful lobbying group, alone has spent more than $17.5 million lobbying the California Legislature and other state officials over the past few years. last three years.
Big Oil and Gas’s lobbying spree to defeat a bill to stop offshore drilling off the California coast and other laws it opposed amounted to a total of $7,638,377.68 during the sixth quarter of the 2021-22 legislative session and $5,647,476.89 during the fifth quarter – a total of $13,285,854.57 between January and June 2022.
Not surprisingly, the Western States Petroleum Association spent the most of any organization in the oil and gas industry, $3,436,478.82, between January and June 2022.
But Chevron came in second with $2,601,896.18 spent on lobbying in California between January and June.
Sempra Energy, the company that owns SoCalGas responsible for the Aliso Canyon gas explosion in October 2015, came third with $2,420,143.85 injected into lobbying in the first six months of 2022.