One Chevron employee has accidentally let the cat out of the bag by e-mailing a breakdown of the company’s profits, losses and trading exposures to the media – spreadsheets and all.
The offending e-mail was sent last Friday and showed how the energy giant was able to use its size to sway the markets and earn a sizeable $360 million for its Houston based fuel trading unit in the process.
So, far from being speculators in the middle making the dosh, it seems it is the energy companies themselves.
Chevron spokesman Lloyd Avram acknowledged the authenticity of the documents but warned that they were only snapshots and, as they were not intended for release, should not be relied upon for trading as it could be ‘misinterpreted’ by traders. "The data is for internal management reporting only, and does not directly translate into externally reported segment earnings, which are reported according to GAAP,” he said in an e-mail to Reuters.
This would put about two thirds of the Chevron trading unit’s profits coming from trading in gasoline, heating oil and diesel.
Shares in Chevron closed 1.45% up on Friday at $106.19 and now, on Monday, stands at $107.56.
So where does that leave President Obama’s drive to go after the speculators and to push oil prices down for the average American?
As Bruce Krasting shows, these attempts to control the price of oil by selling off chunks of the Strategic Petroleum Reserves have so far failed and any future moves to do the same would also have the same result of making big oil even higher profits.