The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Chevron Stock Buyback:
Robbing the Working Class to Fatten Billionaires Even More

Feb 6, 2023

Oil giant Chevron announced that it will buy back 75 billion dollars of its own shares, starting on April 1. This is one of the largest corporate stock buybacks in history, and a continuation of Chevron’s previous, 25-billion-dollar buyback ending on March 31. Stock buybacks are used to lift the price of the stock and enrich the richest stockholders, the capitalist class.

Last year, Chevron reported 36.5 billion dollars in profit, more than twice as much as the company’s profit in 2021. ExxonMobil’s 2022 profit was even bigger, more than 55 billion dollars—the biggest annual profit for any oil company ever. The huge profits in the oil industry come as no surprise, of course, as we all have been getting ripped off at the pump—and everywhere else too, since gasoline prices affect the price of everything.

To justify the high price of gasoline and other oil products, oil companies have been telling all kinds of lies. They blame high prices on various disruptions in trade brought on by the sanctions on Russian oil that the U.S. imposed with the war in Ukraine. Or else they blame them on the reopening of the world economy following the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

But these companies have been laughing all the way to the bank. In 2022 alone, five of the biggest oil companies known as “the Majors,” ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, Shell, and Total made a combined profit of 190 billion dollars, according to the estimates of experts. And all the oil companies have done what Chevron does with the profits: hand them over to the capitalist class through massive stock buybacks. ExxonMobil, for example, also announced a big stock buyback last December, to the tune of 50 billion dollars.

As a source of energy and other products such as plastics, oil is a very valuable resource for humanity. But under the control of the capitalist class, the oil industry has become a major source of pollution, and a conduit for channeling the wealth produced by the working class into the pockets of a tiny number of obscenely rich people.