I was reading the news this morning when this particular headline caught my eye:

“Big Oil’s big ‘Problem'”

Intrigued I decided to read the article.  It never ceases to amaze me how short sighted and greedy people (and companies) can be.  The article focuses on the fact that ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil are spending the big windfall that their companies are making in two ways: dividends to stockholders and buybacks of the stock from the open market.  This, of course, leads to the obvious question: what about capital spending — like research into alternate energy technologies or searching for new energy sources?  Nope…they’re apparently not interested in this.  In this day and age it’s unbelievable that companies can be so insensitive to the situation in the world around them that all they can think about is enriching themselves rather than helping to solve one of the major problems being faced in the world today.  I have no problem with the idea that they should reward their shareholders with some of the money they earn…but to spend 0% (in the case of ExxonMobil) and 0.5% (in the case of ConocoPhillips) on capital items like finding and developing new sources of energy is reprehensible and unconscionable.  These companies are making money hand over fist and they see no reason why they should look for other sources of energy.  I would hope that when the day comes and the oil finally runs out that they will be ones scrambling for things to sell and find that the market has moved beyond these dinosaurs.  I only hope that I will live long enough to see that day.