Friday, October 28, 2005

Oil companies reap rewards from high prices

As the price of oil soared this summer, so did the profits of oil companies:

Thanks to two hurricanes and a thirsty world, the oil industry's largest firms are reporting the kind of profits this week that put whole national economies to shame.

Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest publicly traded oil corporation, set a new record Thursday with a $9.9 billion quarterly profit, a 75 percent jump from the same period last year. That broke the previous record set several hours earlier by Royal Dutch Shell, which made $9 billion. San Ramon's Chevron Corp. is due to report its profits today, and another blockbuster is all but assured.

Such a monumental tide of black ink is raising suspicions from Capitol Hill to the corner gas station that the oil giants are taking advantage of supply interruptions to squeeze their customers.