WASHINGTON - Top executives of the five largest oil companies tried to shift anger over high prices to a debate over supplies Wednesday, leading a senator to accuse them of acting like “hapless victims” while racking up record profits.
Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., told the executives there’s “a disconnect” between normal supply and demand and the skyrocketing price of oil — surpassing $130 a barrel even as the oil leaders testified — that the industry has yet to explain.
J. Stephen Simon, executive vice president of Exxon Mobil Corp., said profits have been huge “in absolute terms” but must be viewed in the context of the massive scale of the industry.” He also said high earnings are needed “in the current up cycle” to pay for investments in the long term when profits will be down.>>>
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