Shareholder Dividends Increase Majors Debt

The profit to dividend ratio for many major oil companies has become severely imbalanced. Since mid-2014 U.S. oil and gas companies have lost over one trillion dollars in value. Yet, during that period many companies continues to increase quarterly dividends to investors. Exxon announced a first quarter loss of 63%, but still increased dividends by 2 cents per share. Last year BP lost $6 billion (a 79% decline over the previous year) and at the same time paid over $6 billion to shareholders, announcing it would go further in debt to maintain its dividend. ConocoPhillips, with no refineries to boast profits during the oil price fall, recently made the dramatic decision to cut its quarterly dividend by 66%. Chevron posted its worst loss in a decade, and Shell earnings declined by 58%. Big dividends attract investors, but are not sustainable.