Saturday, August 15, 2009

Exxon, Shell and Fortune 500

global-fortune-500On my return from holiday I bought Fortune magazine to read on the 4 hour train ride from south of France to Paris. It's first time I buy the mag and I actually enjoyed it. It changes from the usual bad-news/gossip mags that are out there.

But when going through the global list of fortune 500 companies I was slightly taken aback.

The number one company for profits in 2008 was Exxon Mobil? Hold on a second, I must have read wrong. We had an oil crisis in 2008, the price of crude oil skyrocketed. Low-cost airlines went broke across the world due to skyrocketing gas prices. People were left without jobs, travelers were left around the world needing to pay new flight tickets. And I could go on about the problems the oil crisis. exxon-logo

Yet what am I reading... that Exxon Mobil had the highest ever profits in their history AND not only that, it seems they beat the records for profits of any American company.

Wow, that's slightly disturbing. It's just against any concept of exchange, value for money or service that I know of. If the price of crude goes up, it is understandable that the price to the consumer would raise. But the price of crude went up to about $151 in 2008. It then went back down to $67 today.

That change hasn't been turned over to the consumers.

Now I went through the list of global 500 companies and find the oil companies all over it. It's OK that they make a lot of money and we all heard the story of the Black Gold. The next surprise... Shell is the biggest company in the world!

In fact Fortune's editor puts a little comment "America's Exxon Mobil remains the most profitable company, with income last year of $45.2 billion. In fact, last year's high oil prices allowed global energy companies to dominate this year's list, capturing 7 of the top 10 slots." 

Shell logo

It's a little sad to see that while the world is struggling to find solutions for the incredible pollution problem, for the low economy and incredible job losses.

And in the back of that the oil companies (which make or break many industries since they all rely on oil) are racking in the profits on their backs!

As a Scientologist there is one fundamental datum that is taught again and again. It's the concept of exchange, to always give slightly better service or product than one has received exchange for. I have always lived with that concept and apply it on my work all the time. The results speak for themselves. The companies I work with are all turning around their sales in an otherwise difficult year.

It seems oil companies could learn from these concepts.