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Big Oil's Free Money: Royalty-Free Leases

  • Ten years ago, oil companies purchased about 1,500 leases to drill for energy on publicly-owned lands in the Gulf of Mexico-- but they did not have to compensate American taxpayers for 70 percent of them.
  • At that time, the price of oil was $14 a barrel. Today, as the price of oil hovers above $100 a barrel and Republicans continue to claim oil companies need more public land for drilling, nearly half of these leases have yet to be developed, while the potential profit from these resources has soared for Big Oil.
  • American families and businesses are already paying sky-high energy prices to fuel their cars and trucks and heat their homes and offices - they shouldn't have to pay more than $100 a barrel to buy back their own oil from companies earning the largest corporate profits in American history.
2008: Another Record Year for Oil Company Profits