Meet the Oil Executives Visiting the White House to Discuss ‘Relief’ for the Industry With Trump

by Tim Donaghy

April 2, 2020

Between salaries, bonuses, stock options, and other compensation, these seven executives earned at least a combined $100 million in 2018 alone. But they’re in Washington to ask for relief after oil prices plummeted to around $20 per barrel this week. 

Donald Trump and Harold Hamm

Left: Donald Trump, Photo by Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons. Right: Harold Hamm, Photo by David Shankbone / Creative Commons.

Tomorrow, executives from at least seven US oil companies will meet with Donald Trump at the White House to discuss relief for the oil industry. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the meeting will include ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods, Chevron CEO Mike Wirth, Occidental Petroleum CEO Vicki Hollub, and former Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm. CNBC has reported that the meeting will also include Energy Transfer CEO Kelcy Warren, Phillips66 CEO Greg Garland (who is also chairman of the American Petroleum Institute), and Devon Energy CEO David Hager. 

Between salaries, bonuses, stock options, and other compensation, these executives earned at least a combined $100 million in 2018 alone. But they’re in Washington to ask for relief after oil prices plummeted to around $20 per barrel this week. 

ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods

Darren Woods has been the CEO of ExxonMobil since January 2017, when previous CEO Rex Tillerson left to become Trump’s first Secretary of State. ExxonMobil is one of the largest publicly traded oil companies in the world and one of the greatest carbon polluters in history. 

More about Darren Woods and ExxonMobil:

  • Woods’ total compensation in 2018 (which includes salary, bonuses, stock options, and more) was $18.7 million, which is 110 times the median employee pay at ExxonMobil. 
  • Woods personally contributed $10,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and $35,550 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) in 2019. 
  • ExxonMobil ranks as the fourth-most polluting company in history, responsible for 41.9 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions (3.09 percent of global emissions) between 1965 and 2017. 
  • The company reported $9.8 million in lobbying expenditures in 2019, second only to Koch Industries among oil and gas companies. But that doesn’t include millions directed through industry groups like the American Petroleum Institute (API) or American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), which was instrumental in Trump’s proposed rollback of fuel efficiency standards announced earlier this week. Woods previously served as the chairman of API, and remains a board member. 
  • Read more about Darren Woods on LittleSis and about ExxonMobil on PolluterWatch

Chevron CEO Mike Wirth

Mike Wirth has served as CEO and chairman of the board for Chevron since February 2018. Under his watch, Chevron has led the way in lobbying the Trump administration to roll back methane regulations while publicly positioning itself as a supporter of the Paris climate agreement. 

More about Mike Wirth and Chevron:

  • Wirth’s total compensation in 2018 (which includes salary, bonuses, stock options, and more) was $20.6 million, which is 152 times the median employee pay at Chevron. 
  • Wirth has personally contributed $25,500 to the NRSC so far in 2020, on top of $33,900 in 2019.  
  • Chevron ranks as the second-most polluting company in history, responsible for 43.35 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions (3.2 percent of global emissions) between 1965 and 2017. 
  • The company reported $9.2 million in lobbying expenditures in 2019, not including millions of dollars routed through industry groups like API. Last week, the EPA announced it would indefinitely suspend enforcement of environmental health monitoring after receiving a letter from API’s Senior Vice President of Policy, Economics, and Regulatory Affairs Frank Macchiarola. 
  • Read more about Mike Wirth on LittleSis and about Chevron on PolluterWatch

Occidental Petroleum CEO Vicki Hollub

Vicki Hollub has been the president and CEO of Occidental Petroleum since April 2016. During her tenure, Occidental acquired Anadarko Petroleum for $38 billion.

More about Vicki Hollub and Occidental:

  • Hollub’s total compensation in 2018 (which includes salary, bonuses, stock options, and more) was $14.1 million, which is 114 times the median employee pay at Occidental. 
  • Hollub personally contributed $12,300 to the NRCC in 2018, as well as $2,700 each to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and former Senator Heidi Heitcamp (D-ND). 
  • Occidental ranks as the forty-fourth-most polluting company in history, responsible for 5.89 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions through 2017.
  • The company reported $8.7 million in lobbying expenditures in 2019, not including millions routed through industry groups. 
  • On March 18, 2020, Moody’s downgraded Occidental’s debt rating to “junk” status. 
  • Read more about Vicki Hollub on LittleSis

Former Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm

Harold Hamm founded Continental Resources in 1967 and served as CEO until stepping down in December 2019. He is credited with spearheading the fracking expansion in the Bakken shale formation. The idea of a bailout for fossil fuel companies — which Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have signaled they are open to — reportedly began with Hamm

More about Harold Hamm and Continental:

  • The Hamms are ranked as the fifty-fifth-wealthiest family in the United States, with a net worth of $8.8 billion as of October 2019. With the recent shocks to the stock market, Hamm’s net worth may have decreased as much as $2.3 billion. He remains the richest person in the state of Oklahoma
  • Hamm’s total compensation in 2018 (which includes salary, bonuses, stock options, and more) was $13.3 million, which is 103 times the median employee pay at Continental. 
  • Hamm personally contributed $49,800 to the Republican National Committee (RNC) in 2019, as well as $14,400 to the NRCC and thousands more to multiple Republican campaigns. 
  • Hamm served as an energy policy advisor to the Trump campaign beginning in the Republican primary in 2016 through the general election. He was also named to Trump’s economic advisory council in 2017. 
  • Continental donated $100,000 to Trump’s inauguration and has donated nearly $600,000 so far to PACs supporting Trump’s reelection. 
  • Read more about Harold Hamm on LittleSis and DeSmog.

Devon Energy CEO David Hager

David Hager has served as president and CEO of Devon Energy since August 2015. Hager has also been on the board of the API since 2015. 

  • Hager’s total compensation in 2018 (which includes salary, bonuses, stock options, and more) was $12.5 million, which is 79 times the median employee pay at Devon Energy. 
  • Devon Energy reported $720,000 in lobbying expenditures in 2019, but the majority of its lobbying efforts are routed through industry groups like API and AFPM. 
  • The company made a $750,000 contribution to the Senate Leadership Fund and a $500,000 contribution Congressional Leadership Fund in 2016 to preserve Republican majorities in the House and Senate. 
  • Devon Energy ranks as the sixty-fifth-most polluting company of all time, responsible for 2.47 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent through 2017.

Energy Transfer CEO Kelcy Warren

Kelcy Warren co-founded Energy Transfer in 1995 and currently serves as CEO and chairman of the board. The company is responsible for the development of the controversial Dakota Access pipeline. 

  • Warren’s personal net was valued at $4.3 billion as of October 2019, making him the 159th-richest person in the United States. His wealth has likely decreased due to recent market downturns, possibly to as low as $2.3 billion
  • Officially, Warren only earned $6,138 in salary in 2018, but Energy Transfer is structured as a master limited partnership such that Warren (as a key shareholder) receives a share of the company’s income. In 2016, it was estimated that Warren would receive around $200 million in compensation that year.
  • In 2016, Warren personally donated $100,000 to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and later contributed $250,000 for Trump’s inauguration.
  • Energy Transfer reported $760,000 in lobbying expenditures in 2019, not including lobbying efforts routed through industry groups.
  • Between 2002 and 2017, Energy Transfer, Sunoco, and their subsidiaries reported 527 hazardous liquids pipeline incidents — approximately one incident from existing facilities every 11 days. Those incidents released a total of 3.6 million gallons (about five-and-a-half Olympic-sized swimming pools) of hazardous liquids — including 2.8 million gallons of crude oil — and caused $115 million in property damage. 
  • Warren’s past statements about peaceful protest demonstrate his attitude regarding dissent. He has referred to social media posts about banks that fund pipelines as “terrorism” and said on a panel discussion that protesters should be “removed from the gene pool.”
  • Read more about Kelcy Warren on LittleSis and PolluterWatch

Phillips66 CEO Greg Garland

Greg Garland has served as chairman and CEO of Phillips66 since April 2012. Earlier this year, he was named chairman of the American Petroleum Institute (API). 

  • Garland’s total compensation in 2018 (which includes salary, bonuses, stock options, and more) was $19.3 million, which is 98 times the median employee pay at Phillips66. 
  • Garland took over as chairman of API in January 2020. The group has actively pushed its deregulatory agenda to the Trump administration throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including requesting the EPA suspend enforcement of environmental standards for pipeline operators and refiners. The EPA granted the request on March 26, 2020.
  • Between 2008 and 2017, API spent more than $663 million on PR and advertising, which was six times as much as all major renewable energy trade associations combined.   
  • Phillips66 reported $3.5 million in lobbying expenditures in 2019, not including spending routed through industry groups like API. 
  • Read more about Greg Garland on LittleSis and about API on DeSmog and PolluterWatch

Additional Sources:

Note: While the meeting itself was confirmed by the American Petroleum Institute and sources close to the matter, the specific participants have not yet been named by the White House. These executives are reported to be in attendance and have a history of attempting to influence the Trump administration on energy and financial policy. 

Tim Donaghy

By Tim Donaghy

Tim Donaghy is a Senior Research Specialist with Greenpeace USA. He writes frequently about climate change, offshore oil drilling, energy production, and the Arctic.

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