Profits plummeted for big oil in the last quarter of 2009. But don’t feel too sorry for them.

Photo: artemuestra

The global economic crisis has hit most people and business sectors hard, but big oil says it’s feeling especially pinched.

The quarterly earning report for the last segment of 2009 came out for Chevron last week, and the news wasn’t good: Profit margins fell 37% to *just* $3.1 billion USD.

Shell hasn’t faired much better. In fact, its quarterly earnings report, released earlier this morning, reflected that the company is even worse off than Chevron, which is beleaguered by the Amazon lawsuit, the world’s largest class action environmental case.

Shell’s earnings plunged by more than 50%, leaving company execs with the not so enviable task of informing shareholders that earnings were *only* $12.52 billion USD.

Sure, the profit losses are a huge hit for these companies, but as international aid and advocacy group Oxfam notes, oil companies have operated on a “take the money and run” scheme for years, leaving people who live in oil-rich communities wondering where their profits are.

Check out this Oxfam video, then visit the organization’s website to learn how you can support their efforts:

Community Connection:

Read about two Matadorians’ experiences documenting oil companies’ work in Interview: The Filmmakers of “Crude Independence.”