The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Karl Frisch, 202-580-5813

Big Oil CEOs Cash-In As Americans Pay High Gas Prices

Executives Got Massive Raises and Multi-Million Dollar Bonuses Taking Home Nearly $400 Million


Today, government watchdog Accountable.US released new research showing executives from 28 of the top oil and gas companies made a combined $394 million in total compensation in 2021. The executives raked in, on average, $1.6 million more per person in 2021 than in 2020.

"Americans will not soon forget that when they were struggling to fill their tanks, oil and gas companies made billions in record profits and decided to give that money to wealthy industry executives and shareholders rather than help consumers by stabilizing gas prices," said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US. "It's time for Big Oil to stop lying about the Biden administration's energy policies and quit using inflation and the crisis in Ukraine to cash in and line their pockets at our expense."

As The Guardian reported this morning, "these figures reflect the companies' massive earnings, brought about largely by the boost in gas prices in the last year. Gas prices experienced a 50% rise in 2021, reaching the highest they have been since 2014. Fuel prices have only continued to climb, hitting an average of $4.12 a gallon in the past few months."

During the same period, top oil and gas companies announced an eye-popping $237 billion in profits. Rather than passing along these record profits to consumers in the form of stabilized gas prices, they were passed onto wealthy executives and shareholders. Now, Big Oil is exploiting the crisis in Ukraine to advance its agenda and make even more money at the expense of consumers.


Spikes in CEO total compensation include:

  • Exxon CEO Darren Woods received a 50% bump in his total compensation in 2021, adding an extra $7.9 million to his $15 million in total compensation for 2020.
  • W&T Offshore CEO Tracy Krohn made $4 million more in 2021 than 2020, a 290% pay bump.
  • Marathon Petroleum CEO Michael Hennigan made over $21 million in 2021, over $5.6 million more than he took home in 2020.

The CEOs' eye-popping 2021 compensations featured $1,895,092 in raises and $31,791,009 in bonuses. This includes:

  • A $4.5 million bonus for Chevron CEO Mike Wirth, bumping his 2021 total compensation north of $22 million.
  • Marathon Oil CEO Lee Tillman getting a $3.5 million bonus to raise his 2021 total compensation to nearly $13 million.
  • A $383,034 raise to Occidental CEO Vicki Hollub's eight-figure total compensation.
  • Over $16 million to Pioneer Natural Resources CEO Scott Sheffield, including a $200,000 pay raise.

Accountable.US is a nonpartisan watchdog that exposes corruption in public life and holds government officials and corporate special interests accountable by bringing their influence and misconduct to light. In doing so, we make way for policies that advance the interests of all Americans, not just the rich and powerful.