Oil giant ExxonMobil Thursday reported first-quarter profits of $10.7 billion and warned of a Democratic initiative to remove U.S. oil industry subsidies.
The figure is a 69 percent increase over first quarter 2010 profits.
Speaking with reporters on a conference call, Ken Cohen, ExxonMobil's vice president, public and government affairs, said Congress should not go along with President Barack Obama's call to eliminate $4 billion in tax breaks for the oil industry.
"Democratic Party leadership again talked about removing what they call $4 billion in oil industry subsidies," Cohen said. "But what they really mean is that they want to increase our taxes by taking away long-standing deductions for our industry while leaving these same deductions in place for other sectors of the economy.
"The simple truth is that these are legitimate tax provisions to keep U.S. industry internationally competitive -- to keep jobs from being exported to other countries," he said.
Cohen said rising oil prices mean "higher earnings for oil companies."
He said ExxonMobil "earned about 7 cents" for every gallon of gasoline it sold in the United States and compared that to "40 to 60 cents per gallon that went from gasoline consumers to the government, state and federal, in gasoline taxes."
He said oil prices were rising due to the weak dollar, increased demand from emerging economies -- Brazil, India and China in particular -- and from "political instability in some oil-producing regions."
"Uncertainty about tomorrow is reflected in prices today," he said.