CAPITOL HILL (AP) - Big oil executives are facing some tough
questioning on Capitol Hill, as they defend company profits.
Exxon Mobil executive vice president Stephen Simon says his
company and the nation's four other top oil companies have had huge
profits "in absolute terms." But he tells a Senate committee that
what he calls "current up cycle" profits are needed to cover
investments when profits are down.
Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy called that
"a nice term" when close to four-dollar-a-gallon gasoline means
"people can't afford to go to work."
When Leahy asked how much he is paid a year, Simon replied that
he makes 12.5 million dollars.
Pennsylvania Republican Arlen Specter says he can see no
explanation for why Exxon Mobil's annual profits have increased
from 11.5 billion dollars to more than 40 billion in the past five
Exxon and the four other oil companies earned 36 billion dollars
in the first three months of this year.