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How much did you make in Alaska?

From Sean Cockerham in Juneau --

Exxon Mobil isn’t making any friends in the state Legislature. Two state senators stormed out of a Senate Resources Committee hearing today after Craig Haymes, Exxon’s top executive for its Alaska operation, refused to give the company’s profits in the state.

Haymes was testifying about what an expensive place Alaska is to do business, when Anchorage Democratic Sen. Bill Wielechowski noted the company made $40 billion last year.

Wielechowski: “How much did you make in Alaska?”

Haymes: “We do not report earnings on a state by state basis.”

Wielechowski: “I know you don’t report it. But surely somewhere somebody has calculated that figure.”

Haymes: “We’re a global company. We report our earnings through our quarterly summaries and in our annual report. And we don’t report it on a state by state basis.”

Wielechowski: “I know you don’t report it. But surely you don’t just take that big pile of money you get from Alaska and throw it in the drawer and say, ‘what do you know we made a little money this year.’

Haymes – “As I mentioned, we don’t report our profit on a state by state basis.”

Wasilla Republican Sen. Charlie Huggins, chair of the committee, then broke into the exchange.

Huggins: “Let’s move on.”

Wielechowski: “Can I request that information?”

Haymes: “We don’t report our profits state by state.”

Wielechowski: “You have no idea how much you made in Alaska?”

Huggins: “Let’s move onto the next topic please.”

Not long after, Kenai Republican Sen. Tom Wagoner started drilling Haymes about the profits.

Wagoner: “I’m just going to try one more time, Mr. Chairman. I find it very interesting that Exxon Mobil will not disclose its profits made in Alaska. BP discloses those profits they make in Alaska. ConocoPhillips discloses those profits.”

Wagoner told Haymes that he came to the special session on raising oil taxes with an open mind. But he said Haymes was making him doubt the oil company claims they are “partners” with the state.

Wagoner: “I don’t think that’s the way a partner acts. I’m very disappointed that Exxon Mobil will not disclose the profits they make in Alaska…It leaves me lacking in trust.”

Huggins: “Continuing right along.”

Haymes then resumed talking about what a “high cost region” Alaska is. He asked the legislators to lower oil taxes.

By this point, Wagoner and Wielechowski had both left the committee hearing in frustration.

© Copyright 2011, The Anchorage Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  9     October 25, 2007 - 4:51pm | Lawlady01

let's play nice boys

Come come now boys... everyone knows that the department of revenue knows exactly how much each and every one of oil companies made last year (At least those of us who are paying attention). The simple fact is that this information is considered proprietary information. All of the other companies have chosen to release this information to the public but for whatever reason (God only knows what drives some of the decisions that Exxon makes) Exxon has made the decision to not release the information. Senators Wielechowski and Wagoner both know it. Or at least they should. This was little more than those two grand standing for the cameras and taking the opportunity to kick Exxon in public forum (not that I ever mind Exxon getting kicked as they deserve it). However, I would prefer if the good Senators would leave the melodrama out of proceedings.

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  October 25, 2007 - 6:35pm | Lysander_Spooner

Off your knees, Lawlady ...

Have you no shame?

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  October 25, 2007 - 8:55pm | Lawlady01

Are you blogging from a state computer?

Clearly you work for one of Senate Democrats. But are you doing this on state equipment?

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  October 25, 2007 - 10:00pm | Lysander_Spooner

Oh, no. Busted.

Shucks, Lawlady. You got me. Yep, 11 p.m., and I'm still at my state computer in a legislative office blogging away. Now you just have to find out which Senate Democrat I work for. Check with Halcro. He's pretty good at figuring these things out.

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  October 25, 2007 - 5:18pm | akgen

I didn't see it as grand standing at all, the Senators that is.

I saw it more as the Exxon guy acting totally disrespectful. Watching it on the TV told me a different story.

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  October 25, 2007 - 5:31pm | Lawlady01

Disrespectful?... think more globally.

This is an Exxon POLICY! Not Exxon Alaska but EXXON global. I'm certain that Mr. Haymes would have been severly repremanded, or given that it is Exxon, he probably would have been fired if he would have answered the question. I only listened to the hearing but asking the same question over and over again when they knew couldn't answer the question was very unstatesman like. Huggins did the only thing a chairman could do which was to try to move things along. I agree that Exxon is being dumb (what else is new) but this has been a long time sticking point between the legislature and Exxon. Wagoner has even said over the years that he's going to kick Exxon every chance he gets until he recieves his settlement from the spill (he's a commercial fisherman). Wielechowski may just be too new to not know the history.

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  October 26, 2007 - 8:31am | jtgranger

And the longest running Drunk Driving Case in World History?

Or are those Jewish Lawyers still confused with all those Good Friday, Jewish Lawyer cases?

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  October 25, 2007 - 6:39pm | Lysander_Spooner

Geez, Lawlady ...

... could you be any more of a suck-up to industry? Exactly what I would expect of a Lyda Green apologist.

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  October 25, 2007 - 5:44pm | akgen

Yes very, disrespectful. Think globally? Give me a break.

Try thinking what Exxon has said this week and then one has to wonder:

If they don't know how much they made in AK, how do they know the tax is too high?

and I borrowed that from a post below...

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  October 26, 2007 - 2:21pm | seewhy

he didn't say

they didn't know.
he said, we're not going to tell.

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  October 25, 2007 - 5:56pm | gilld

Disagree, LawLady

What Sen. Huggins could have done, as chairman of this committee, was ask the Exxon rep to respond to a legitimate and appropriate question from a member of his committee.

If no answer was forthcoming (as apparently it was not to be), as chairman Sen. Huggins should have then suspended the proceeding with a statement to the effect that Exxon's input would no longer be considered. Period.

Sen. Huggins is not there to serve Exxon, by getting their rep out of a bright spotlight. He's there to, first, represent the Alaskans of Senate District H and, second, all Alaskans.

That's what I expected Sen. Huggins. acting as chairman of the Senate Resources Committee, to do.

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  October 25, 2007 - 6:15pm | akgen


and true. Watching it unfold on the TV made me sick in many many ways. Couldn't put it to words, except that it came off very disrespectful to the Senate Resources Committee members. The way Sen. Huggins handled it was totally weird.

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  October 25, 2007 - 6:57pm | gilld

So True, akgen

...and Sen. McGuire's pointless questioning of the Exxon rep, on the Point Thompson gas field, told me lots about where she was coming from. And Sen. Huggins is identifying himself as a solid oil producer "player;" he's probably been moved up to the varsity for this session.

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  October 25, 2007 - 9:04pm | akallegro

McGuire seems to be auditioning

for the oil companies. If she escapes prosecution I wouldn't be surprised to see her as a lobbyist for an oil company when she loses her seat. Her softballs for the Exxon rep where pretty disgusting.

As to Wielechowski and Wagoner grandstanding they did nothing like that at all. The quotes are accurate but while watching it you cant even tell that they left the room till a few minutes later when camera pans to their empty seats.

They both came back for a round table session with BP Exxon and CP and a couple of state experts and Gavin that was a pretty good exchange of information.

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  8     October 25, 2007 - 4:39pm | ak_powder_monkey


So because the tax system is based on profits shouldn't we know what exxons profits were this year?

Raise the taxes, we sure could use a recession, there I prefer fishing with out people, driving without traffic, drawing sheep tags easier need I go on...

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  7     October 25, 2007 - 2:50pm | Stags_Leap

Moot Point

the department of revenue should be able to generate a good estimate of the profit.

As much as I don't like the non-disclosure tactic, I still say that raising taxes three times within three years on our biggest industry is NOT sound economic policy, and could lead to a statwide recession.

Palin should just switch over to the Democratic Party.

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  October 25, 2007 - 3:18pm | TruthforAlaska

Corporate BS

"raising taxes three times within three years" is an outright lie and the only fool you are fooling Stags is yourself. It is a percentage of Alaska's oil profit , not a tax. It's morons like you that give morons a bad name.

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  October 25, 2007 - 6:12pm | akartisan

It Just Doesn't Count

It isn't going to go away. The last change is a do-over. PERIOD. Corruption needs to be excised and then we need a real debate.

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  October 25, 2007 - 7:27pm | akgen

Do it over.

It is like a seine net with a huge hole in the money bag, that got stitched up with the wrong thread, then broke again. Leaving a huge hole, again. Do it over.

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  October 25, 2007 - 10:30pm | akartisan

Not Quite

Good start, but this is more like it:

It is like a seine net with a huge hole that was cut by one of your hired hands, who was offered some chump change to sabotage your catch so their ship could be more profitable. Only he was caught in the act, on film, and though you lost a good measure of your catch, you fire the saboteur(s), FIX THE NET, and then return to fishing.

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  October 25, 2007 - 7:03pm | akartisan



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  October 25, 2007 - 4:57pm | Lawlady01

Dictionaries are usually a better start than name calling

noun 1. a sum of money demanded by a government for its support or for specific facilities or services, levied upon incomes, property, sales, etc.
2. a burdensome charge, obligation, duty, or demand.

Of course it's a tax. It's even called a tax. Perhaps you're thinking of the 12.5% royalty?

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  October 25, 2007 - 5:02pm | akgen

really now?

coming across all moral. .. you are the same "lady" that used the sexist term 'prom queen', are you not?

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  October 25, 2007 - 5:06pm | Lawlady01

Guilty as charged...

and worse yet, I borrowed the term "prom queen".

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  October 25, 2007 - 3:41pm | Stags_Leap

it's a Petroleum Production Tax

yeah -it's a TAX based on a percentage....yawn...that's your best shot? The hybrid PPT is doomed. And your prom queen's approval numbers are going down. You can spin this issue and the words as much as you want, but if it smells like a tx, acts like a tax, must be tax....I hate to quote Reagan, but it's appropriate to the Palin Administration's tax and spend habits.

"The government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it."

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  6     October 25, 2007 - 2:42pm | black33

There's more than one way to skin a cat

How the heck do oil companies pay their taxes if they have no idea how much they made in Alaska?

If, for some reason, all the competent people who work for Revenue and/or Legislative research can't figure out how much Exxon made by a reverse calculation (aren't they paying based upon net, minus credits, plus various royalties and corporate taxes), the solution is simple:

Make disclosure of oil company profits (both on a gross and net basis) a requirement in any legislation emerging from the special session.

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  October 25, 2007 - 5:08pm | northernlady

That's one of the smartest things I've heard so far...

Ever consider running for the legislature?

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  5     October 25, 2007 - 2:39pm | robindevoe

Yeah, Finally Some Senators With Some Balls

Way to go guys. Now who is going to spearhead a way to get these bastards (Exxon) out of Alaska for good? Or play so tough with them they are forced to behave just a little better?

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  4     October 25, 2007 - 2:36pm | staufen

Hear Hear, Mr. Wagoner & Mr. Wielechowski

Nice to see a few senators are willingly doing the job = asking real questions and shaking executives outside of their PR and comfort zones.

Haymes probably fired some accountant in the past for not having details ready when Exxon's board asked.

Tom, thanks for some of that good old Pomeroy skeet shooting while the bird is in the air. Thanks, to Bill too.

PS: Huggins - we've been watching you actively assist corporatism on Gavel-to-Gavel. Please return your distinguished service medal if you can't show any more courage than that! At least two knew not to stay in the foxhole with you, too.

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  3     October 25, 2007 - 2:18pm | smcleary

If they don't know, how do they know the tax is too high?

If they don't know how much they made in AK, how do they know the tax is too high?

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  October 25, 2007 - 3:34pm | mikegalaska

To The Penny

They know darned good and well what the profit numbers for Alaska are. He kept repeating that they "don't report" that figure. That's not the same as saying they don't know the figure. I'll bet they know it down to the penny. BP and Connoco have no problem releasing that figure. Maybe that's because they are not trying to screw over the people of Alaska all the way to the Supreme Court.

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  October 25, 2007 - 2:27pm | akgen


does anybody have a good answer to this?

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  2     October 25, 2007 - 2:09pm | cbingham

Knowing and reporting are two different things

Even though Exxon Mobil may not report its earnings from Alaska, I'm sure the company has the data. This is one of the largest multinational corporations in the world, and you know there have to be revenue reports based on each individual oil well it runs. A company of this size knows to the penny how much it saves if the employee cafeteria staff only put two pickles on a cheeseburger instead of three. Can't the legislature subpoena this information? Since Exxon is drilling on land that's owned by the state and federal government, there's got to be some accountability for how much of our resources they're tapping.

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  1     October 25, 2007 - 2:06pm | nemesis

Put up or shut up

Haymes knows exactly how much they make in Alaska. If he's going to whine about the high cost of doing business here, he should site some numbers. Good for Wagoneer and Wielechowski for walking out on that bastard.

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