Publications: Notes at the Margin

Crude Oil Price Suppression (January 30, 2023)


Two key oil companies announced earnings last week. One, Chevron, received front-page coverage for record profits of $35.5 billion. The other, the refining company Valero, received far less attention even though it also earned record profits.


Missing from the two reports was this “minor” detail: Valero benefited, and Chevron lost, from the transfer of roughly $20 per barrel from Middle East crude producers as Valero took advantage of US government policies and practiced output discipline. The arrogant ministers from oil-exporting countries, the executives of Middle Eastern oil producers, the CEOs of independent producers like Pioneer Natural Resources, and the CEOs of integrated oil companies like Chevron were all oblivious to their pockets being picked to the tune of $720 billion in 2022. Chevron alone might have lost $3 billion in revenue.


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