ExxonMobil’s PR department got some great news today as the world’s No. 1 oil company reported a 66 percent plunge in second-quarter earnings to $4.1B. That’s a mere pittance from the whopping $12B that ExxonMobil hauled in last year, an amount called “obscene” by some who believe the Texas giant is a slacker when it comes to developing alternative fuels.
CEO Rex Tillerson now wants everybody to know that ExxonMobil is facing hard times just like the guy across the street. “Global economic conditions continue to impact the energy industry both in the volatility of commodity prices and reduced demand for products,” said Tillerson’s statement. T-Rex’s note to America: put a tiger in your tank. ExxonMobil’s “dreary” financial performance, its worst quarter since `03, registered little impact on Wall Street. XOM barely nudged, slipped 48 cents to $70.95.
Earlier this month, T-Rex unveiled his own alt-fuels initiative. ExxonMobil teamed with Synthetic Genomics to research and develop biofuels from photosynthetic algae that are compatible with gasoline and diesel. ExxonMobil is to contribute more than $600M to the venture, which stands as “chump change” compared to the $5.2B in stock buybacks that the company made during the second quarter.
ExxonMobil and Synthetic Genomics say years of development work lies ahead before you can expect to buy algae gas at the pump. That gives ExxonMobil good alt-fuels PR cover and plenty of time to sell oceans of its “black gold, Texas Tea.”