Big Oil's Wartime Buyback Bonanza

Amid high gas prices and war in recent months, the US's largest oil and gas companies have seen profits soar. These 20 companies, who received billions in taxpayer dollars during the coronavirus crisis, are using windfall profits to buyback billions of dollar worth of shares to enrich shareholders and executives. In the first five months of 2022, eight companies authorized plans to buy back and retire $46 billion in stock — a 116% increase over the $21.2 billion in buybacks authorized throughout all of 2021. A full $36 billion of those buyback authorizations came since the start of February 2022, as Russian preparations for their eventual invasion of Ukraine sent oil prices skyrocketing.

BailoutWatch, Public Citizen and Friends of the Earth reviewed filings and public statements by the 20 biggest US-headquartered oil and gas companies, the analysis uncovered an industry-wide trend — accelerating in the leadup and aftermath of the invasion — to expand share repurchase programs and to boost dividends.

New data compiled by Friends of the Earth, BailoutWatch, and Public Citizen shows that the biggest oil and gas companies are returning billions more in cash to themselves and their investors amid windfall profits from war.