..are making so much money it is embarrassing and they can't even spend it all.
From recent story on canadian energy firms:: ``It's getting to the point where it's embarrassing for companies because they are making so much money,'' said industry analyst Peter Linder with brokerage Harris Partners in Calgary.
Traditionally, firms spend so-called free cash flow -- the amount of money generated above projected spending plans -- on increased exploration projects or debt repayment.
In these days of sustained record high oil and natural gas prices and dwindling basins, however, debt levels are down and there is a shrinking number of exploration projects that can be quickly taken off the shelf and pursued.
``There are not unlimited projects, companies have to pace themselves so they show an orderly increase,'' said Linder. `` I think that six months from now, actual spending will be about 25 percent higher than current forecasts and most of it will be on acquisitions.''
Companies are reluctant to broadcast takeover spending targets because of the competitive nature of the activity, executives said.
``There are certainly not an unlimited number of projects out there and it's hard to nail down acquisitions spending because that's something out of the ordinary,'' said J.C. Anderson of Anderson Exploration, which has boosted this year's spending target to C$685 million from a previous forecast of C$565 million.
``We might even do something extraordinary, like giving money back to our shareholders, he said.''
This J.C. Anderson quote sums up the typical attitude of an oil company CEO: "We might even do something extraordinary, like give money back to our shareholders." The only comparable is the democrats arguing against a tax cut because its a "huge giveback to the rich".