Pumping for Answers
As oil hit a new record of $134 a barrel yesterday, lawmakers summoned energy executives to Capitol Hill for the latest in a series of ritual immolations. But this one felt more like "The Price Is Right."
ConocoPhillips executive John Lowe -- come on down!
"Last year, what was your compensation?" Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy asked.
"I don't know the exact amount," the oilman demurred.
"Is it over, say, $100,000 a year?" coaxed Leahy, playing Bob Barker.
"Considerably over $100,000?"
"Yes, sir, it would be."
"Over $1 million a year?"
Higher, Bob, higher! Lowe's cash compensation was $5.7 million in 2007, according to Forbes magazine, and stock options worth $10.9 million bring the price tag to -- ding, ding ding -- $16.6 million.
For lawmakers frustrated about $4-a-gallon gas, this game was fun. Leahy turned to Peter Robertson, vice chairman of Chevron.
"It's certainly well over $1 million," the executive said.