Senate hearing adds fuel to oil discussion

With oil prices and heating issues surpassing healthcare as the top concern among Americans, reps from ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and the US subsidiaries of British Petroleum and Royal Dutch Shell recently testified in front of the Senate Energy and Commerce committees to explain record third quarter profits of $32.8 billion.

With oil prices and heating issues surpassing healthcare as the top concern among Americans, reps from ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and the US subsidiaries of British Petroleum and Royal Dutch Shell recently testified in front of the Senate Energy and Commerce committees to explain record third quarter profits of $32.8 billion.

Several senators have been rallying support for a windfall profit tax, which would put an extra 50% tax on profits when oil is more than $40 a barrel. The LA Times reported that the executives made no apologies for their profits.

Most frequent messages

1. Blame falls on oil companies, but Congress must do something about rising costs

2. Oil companies claim prices rose mainly due to supply disruptions and surging demand

3. Heating costs for this winter are expected to reach record levels

4. Senators and lobbyists suggest a windfall tax be used to help the poor pay for home heating

5. Oil companies say their profit margins are no greater, and often lower, than other industries

Based on 85 articles in US newspapers from November 7-10, 2005

Evaluation and analysis by Cymfony

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