Koch brothers could make $100 billion profit from Keystone pipeline

This is not an entirely new story, but it’s important in light of the recent opening of the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline. (For background on the southern leg of the pipeline, click here.)

We knew that the Koch Bros were financially involved in the Keystone pipeline, and covered that connection back in 2011. But more has come to light since then, much more.

Jared Gilmour at the Huffington Post (my emphasis):

Keystone XL Pipeline Could Yield $100 Billion For Koch Brothers 

Approval of the Keystone XL pipeline could generate $100 billion in profits for billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, according to a report released Sunday, which revealed the extent to which the Kochs would benefit from the tar sands development the proposed pipeline would help spur.

A progressive think tank called the International Forum on Globalization completed the study, which found that the Kochs and their privately-owned company, Koch Industries, hold up to 2 million acres of land in Alberta, Canada, the proposed starting point of the Keystone XL. Several Koch Industries subsidiaries stand to benefit from the pipeline’s construction, including Koch Exploration Canada, which would profit from oil development on its land, and Koch Supply and Trading, which would benefit from oil derivatives trading.

The report also estimates that the Koch brothers have given about $50 million to think tanks and members of Congress who have pushed for the pipeline to be built.

The full report is here (pdf). This is what that looks like as Keystone carbon:

Koch Industries_tar-sand-carbon

So the Koch Bros, personally, could be responsible for adding 19 gigatons of CO2 into the atmosphere, all on their own. They should have naming rights to the next set of parts-per-million added to the air.

This represents an amazing amount of money — that’s $100 billion in profit, not just revenue — thanks in part to their ownership of tar-sand land in Canada (image via the report, h/t Meteor Blades at Daily Kos):


Nearly twice as much as ConocoPhillips; nearly ten times as much as Exxon. I’ll bet they think they’re sitting on a gold mine, the rest of the planet be damned.

Let’s do the math

The report doesn’t make clear if the Koch brothers or Koch Industries will reap that $100 billion, since it seems to merge the two. I suspect the headline is correct, but let’s say that it’s Koch Industries that will make the big bucks.

The Koch Bros, together, own 84% of Koch Industries, a privately held company:

Fred C. Koch, after whom Koch Industries, Inc. is named, co-founded the company in 1940 and developed an innovative crude oil refining process. His sons, Charles Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer, and David H. Koch, executive vice president, are principal owners of the company after they bought out their brothers, Frederick and William “Bill” Koch, for $1.1 billion in 1983. Charles and David H. Koch each own 42% of Koch Industries, and Charles has stated that the company will publicly offer shares “literally over my dead body”.

Multiplying this out, 84% x $100 billion in Keystone and tar-sand profit — yes, that’s “billion” — equals … $84 billion, or $42 billion each, at a minimum. (That 16% owner is going to do pretty well too, by the way, unless my math is wrong.)

The Koch Bros are currently worth $50 billion each (Bloomberg), or $46 billion each (the report), or $36 billion each (Forbes). Let’s take the lowest number, $36 billion each (my paragraphing):

Koch brothers’ net worth: $36 billion apiece, Forbes says

Charles Koch and David Koch, the brothers at the helm of Wichita-based Koch Industries Inc., have a net worth of $36 billion apiece, according to Forbes. They’re tied for fourth on the magazine’s list of the 400 richest people in America.

Forbes’ estimate of the brothers’ wealth has been increasing. In March, on a list of the world’s billionaires, Forbes put their net worth at $34 billion apieceBill Gates ranked No. 1 on the Forbes list with a net worth of $72 billion. He was followed byWarren Buffett and Larry Ellison.

Together, the Koch Bros are worth $72 billion by this estimate. Add another $84 billion minimum from Canadian tar-sands exploitation (monetization) and they’re really up there — $156 billion together; almost $80 billion each. Either way that clobbers Bill Gates and his measly $72 billion.

And these are the low estimates. Take the high estimates and you’re looking at $200 billion between them. As Everett Dirksen might say, that’s real money.

Marchers take part in the Forward on Climate rally on February 17, 2013 in Washington DC, the largest climate rally in U.S. history. Rena Schild / Shutterstock.com

It’s not about the planet; they’re just running up the score

Why does this matter? Because that’s how these guys know who’s winning. Donald Trump explains it for you:

“Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game.”

And that, folks — keeping score — is why the planet may cook, if we don’t stop them now. Literally why. These people are children; children with bazookas, but children.


To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius

Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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55 Responses to “Koch brothers could make $100 billion profit from Keystone pipeline”

  1. MJL says:

    and the only reason why they are still amassing wealth and further the country going bankrupt is simply for the sole purpose of being number 1 on a list?

    oh hell no.

    and we know that this won’t stop there because after they get what they want in the US, then they’re gonna want to be number 1 on the world list and quite frankly, we do not need that. the only thing I can think of to reign them in is to replace our lawmakers and supreme court judges with people who have enough a moral conscience to not accept a bribe from them and other lobbyists and repeal the laws that allow them to keep bankrupting the country.

    first we have to find people who just don’t care about being threatened or blackmailed

  2. ComradeRutherford says:

    It is far better for two rich Conservatives to get even more rich, than for all life to exist on the planet. And if you don’t believe that, then you are a far-left radical.

  3. Jett says:

    If anyone should have been impeached while in office, it was Bush for his war crimes. You must be a troll who has a hard on for Bush.

  4. Ford Prefect says:

    ROTFL. You must be an OFA troll or something. No one has protected the Bush Crime Family more than Barack Obama. No one. He did them that favor so his successors will decline to prosecute him for his own crimes.

  5. Jett says:

    I agree with some of your points, but if we had another Bush mentality in office, we would still be far worse off. I’m disappointed too, but change in Washington will happen when Hell freezes over.

  6. lynchie says:

    What has that got to do with Obama not living up to his hopey changey, hide the marble. I never said Bush was better this was about Obama and his call for change that never happened. I could go into the list but I am sure you have seen it. I won’t repeat it. Open your eyes we deserve more from Washington. I am tired of the President and Congress following the dictates of the 1% and trying to convince us that lower taxes, not prosecuting wall street and the banks is good for america. All the while plotting to cut SS and Medicare, food stamps, welfare and help for the elderly and poor. As far as the wars here we are 5 years later and after Obama promised to end Iraq and Afghanistan we are embroiled in Syria, Egypt, Libya and countless other incursions they don’t even report on. This same president expanded NSA

  7. Jett says:

    Hundreds of thousands of civilian lives lost in Iraq along with our own men and women in uniform with Bush directly responsible, and the millions of jobs lost under that idiot is not horse shit.

  8. Jett says:

    Continue to protect Bush the War Criminal whose a** should have been in jail long ago.

  9. Bill_Perdue says:

    Pretty much.

  10. 1jetpackangel says:

    Oh. I’ve found a better explanation. A Tedx Talk, called “Does Money Make You Mean?”


  11. Ford Prefect says:

    Third war? Care to guess how many countries Obama has put US troops into since coming into office that weren’t there when Bush was preznit?

  12. karmanot says:

    Well, if history is any precedent, they go to Catholic schools and turn into Clarence Thomas.

  13. karmanot says:

    This map is a guide to the Apocalypse. If the Ogallalah aquifer is destroyed so goes the nation’s food supply.

  14. lynchie says:

    Well the job losses have nothing to do with the wars. They were a result of the job creators making 1 person do the job of 2 or 3. You are spouting the old lesser of two evils horse shit and that dog don’t hunt. Go back to the DCCC and get some more talking points.

  15. Jett says:

    And I’m so tired of the Bush apologists that got us into this mess in the first place.

  16. Jett says:

    Would you rather be in a third war with more record job losses under Bush?

  17. Jett says:

    I wish, but no such luck. They can never be rich enough.

  18. Jett says:

    Greed, greed, greed. These two old selfish “businessmen” will be long gone after they inflict their environmental damage, but as long as they make their billions before they kick the bucket, all is well.

  19. 1jetpackangel says:

    Why does anyone NEED that much money? Why, why, why?

    Oh wait, I know: Star Trek was real, they’re post-plastic-surgery Ferengi, and they’re trying to buy their way into the Divine Treasury (which is the Ferengi Heaven for you non-nerds). It’s the best explanation I’ve got.

  20. pappyvet says:

    80% OF Americans in some polls thought that NAFTA was a bad idea. 80%,a majority. Didn’t matter. Occupy Wall Street , didn’t change anything. Water from faucets catching fire , nothing. Overwhelming proof that mankind is changing the environment ,nothing. Our protests fall on deaf ears. Facts have been turned into debates. There are a myriad of websites that claim that the Earth is only a few thousand years old and back it up with weird logic ,lies and pseudo-“science. Oil and gas industry using military psyops tactics and people like the Kochs able to use vast resources because it has been ruled ” free speech.” The march toward universal plutocracy has become a sprint and there is a large portion of our people who believe that Jesus will fix everything and that not to believe so means that you are one of “them.” And to the “tribe” it is all inclusive. There is no separation of issues.
    You either believe in A , B , and C or you are one of “them.” You can protest a little. But to protest too much you risk being outcast from the tribe. Bubba will no longer buy you a beer on Friday while you talk about the waitresses ass.

  21. hydroursus says:

    Since medicine (isolation, recombination, isomer alterations, etc.) is made from petroleum and medical tools and materials (which can be used once and thrown away to lessen the chance of transmission of disease in hospital) when oil is scarce, the cost of medicine and care will ONLY be for the rich. Zooming around in cars and planes is nice but the value of a barrel of oil for that is about 125 dollars …. but think of how much a barrel will cost when the other uses of the stuff becomes clear…. after all the fracking, drilling, etc. has dwindled the stuff down enough so that one country can own all of it (or one company, perhaps)!

  22. perljammer says:

    That is the aforementioned Ogallalah aquifer.

  23. nicho says:

    Koch brothers are coming to the Palm Springs area this weekend for their annual conference of plutocrats and kleptocrats. If you’re thinking of protesting, don’t even bother thinking about it. They have more security than Barack Obama could even dream of. There will be SWAT teams, helicopters circling, sharpshooters positioned on all the roofs. And that’s just the security you see. I’m sure Blackwater and all the other mercenaries keep a low profile.


  24. Lawerence Collins says:

    The demonic, soulless sociopathic, Rethuglican zombie sheeple, Koch whores don’t care about anything or anyone but their selfish greed! These are the same subhuman frauds trying to do away with health regulations, the minimum wage and on it goes! The truly sad part is the poor who’ve been fooled, lied to and mislead by them!

  25. LanceThruster says:

    Maybe if they’re that much richer, they’ll quite trying to destroy our democracy as well as our environment?

  26. heimaey says:

    What is this map?

  27. heimaey says:

    It’s both.

  28. APlack1960 says:

    мʏ вυɖɖʏ’ѕ мօтн­­­­­­e­­­­­­ʀ мαĸ­­­­­­e­­­­­­ѕ $87/нʀ օɴ тн­­­­­­e­­­­­­ ʟαքтօք. ѕн­­­­­­e­­­­­­ нαѕ в­­­­­­e­­­­­­­­­­­­e­­­­­­ɴ աιтнօυт α ʝօв ғօʀ ɴιɴ­­­­­­e­­­­­­ мօɴтнѕ вυт ʟαѕт мօɴтн н­­­­­­e­­­­­­ʀ քαʏм­­­­­­e­­­­­­ɴт աαѕ $12044 ʝυѕт աօʀĸιɴɢ օɴ тн­­­­­­e­­­­­­ ʟαքтօք ғօʀ α ғ­­­­­­e­­­­­­ա нօυʀѕ. ʋιѕιт тн­­­­­­e­­­­­­ιʀ ա­­­­­­e­­­­­­вѕιт­­­­­­e­­­­­­ fox800&#46com

  29. A_nonymoose says:

    True. But I’ve wondered for a long time about the mind-set of those who, though they have all that they’ll ever want or need, always hunger for more money. I never thought about it as an addiction, but I guess it really is.

  30. lynchie says:

    I guess I am sick and tired of these congress prostitutes continuing to lie, cheat and steal and feel that they, and only they, know what is best for us. Every action in this country is all about what is best for the 1% and entails money and non accountability. No jail time, no firings and more money for them. Then they try to convince us how bad Miley and Beiber are and that we should hate them. They are only kids acting out and making billions for the people behind the scenes. Putting the movie folks and make believe stars as a mirror we have been suckered again. The biggest scam was that this President would represent the least among us. We/I bought that whole taco, but once I took a bite i realized I got the squirts from the bad fish in that one. As congress jockeys for new wars (can’t end the ones we are in), more military spending, cutting food stamps and programs for the poor and old and they still sling the same ptomaine contaminated pile of shit on our plates for our eating pleasure, like the lemmings we are we fight for first in line to scream “more sir, more for me”.

  31. nicho says:

    Where are the Catholics? Where are the alleged “pro-life” folk? No where to be seen

    Don’t be silly. Fetuses don’t drink water. After the fetuses are born, pro-lifers don’t give a rat’s ass what happens to them.

  32. MyrddinWilt says:

    Its a circular addiction.

    They buy politicians to get kickbacks like Keystone which make them more money which allows them to buy more politicians. It is not clear whether they are addicted to the money itself or the power that comes from having the entire Republican party an most of the people working for them on K-street on their payroll.

    I think it is pretty clear that keystone isn’t going to go forward under Obama either. They won’t say no because the minute they do that, it allows the Koches to appeal. And you know Thomas is for sale, he already gets $1 mill a year through his wife. But the administration won’t ever say yes either. And the GOP won’t want to really force the issue either because the cash might stop flowing if the Koch bros ever got their payoff.

  33. Ford Prefect says:

    This question should be asked all the time:

    Will the Koch brothers pay for the clean-up from such a spill or will they pocket the profits while leaving the government they claim not to want to pick up the bill?

    From the BP Death Gusher, to the Exxon spill in Arkansas, to fracking everywhere, to the tap water in West Virginia, the response mostly is, “You’re stronger than a little (insert toxin here) spill. Just boostrap yourselves into wellness! You’re not going to let some birth defects and cancer clusters get you down, are you?!”

  34. Ford Prefect says:

    Indeed, reading GP’s post, I was wondering, “What’s the going kickback rate on $100 Billion?”

    For years now, the Koch Bros. have been a favorite (and legitimate) target of Democrats. I’m guessing now that they’re on the payroll too, that will have to stop. When did Obama join the Tea Party?

  35. BeccaM says:

    It’s not about the money, although I’m sure they love being able to live in the utmost of luxury.

    It’s about the power such money can wield. If a few million dollars can serve as a lever to control a federal legislator, just imagine the influence possible through the application of a couple billion.

    Money = power. Why else do you think our Supreme Court keeps siding with the notion that money trumps every other civil liberty?

  36. BeccaM says:

    Aye, I saw it. I’ll admit I don’t have a whole lot of sympathy for some guy who, after his ‘addiction’ to wealth appears to have passed, nevertheless is obviously sitting on tens of millions of dollars.

    It’s a blood-gorged tick suddenly developing a conscience…

  37. BeccaM says:

    $100 billion for helping to destroy the planet’s biosphere. But what the hell, the Koch brothers either won’t be around for the worst of it, or are already planning to construct their enclosed bio-domes, the gated communities of the future.

    Or maybe we should just all go watch ‘Elysium’ to see what they have in mind for us.

    Anyway, with that much money in play, it should be obvious why it is there’s no significant opposition to the pipeline — or to extracting and burning that bitumen tar — among either of America’s major political parties.

  38. cambridgemac says:

    Oooh, I did forget about breathable air. Hey, there’s a market for you – selling air to the proles. Bet they’ll be on that one real soon. The Magic of the Marketplace!

  39. Strepsi says:

    Tone, good points all. I think BC will be protested — to the point of blockages and even violence — bu dedicated environmentalists and First Nations, but you’re likely right about Provincial political will (or lack thereof).

    Now that VIc Toewes is gone with his “racist old drunk uncle yammering about the internets” act, Joe Oliver is the WORST.

  40. Bill_Perdue says:

    from natural news

  41. Hue-Man says:

    Executives of Canadian oil companies have to be the stupidest businessmen (I don’t believe there are women in that manly, manly world) on the planet. Tar sands oil production started first in 1967 (if you ignore the First Nations people who used it to waterproof their canoes) and the boom started at the beginning of the 21st century. The Keystone pipeline was proposed in 2005. Nine years later, they are yelling at Americans and Canadians for not immediately approving THEIR pipeline!

    What did they expect? Hire temporary foreign workers to carry it in barrels on their backs from Fort McMurray to Houston? Tell Star Trek to hurry up on Transporter production? Duh.

  42. Bill_Perdue says:

    Destroying the Ogallala aquifer will signal the end of our ability to feed hundreds of millions here and abroad and cripple the economy. Socialists will deal with their criminality swiftly and robustly.

    The Koch Brothers and their enablers like Barack Obama and the Democrat and Republican parties, are criminal. His administration has okayed oil drilling in the dangerous waters of the Arctic and hasemerged as the biggest backer of fracking. Even though he boasts about marginal U.S. cuts in carbon emissions, his green light to fracking means that he’s probably given more of aboost to releases of methane — another dangerous greenhouse gas — than any man in history. And it’s not just the environment. At this point, given what we know about everything from drone warfare to NSA surveillance, the dream of a progressive Obama has, like so many dreams, faded away.”As the battle over the Keystone XL pipeline has worn on … it’s illuminated the Obama presidency like no other issue. … It’s become an X-ray for a flagging presidency. … His administration has okayed oil drilling in the dangerous waters of the Arctic and has emerged as the biggest backer of fracking. Even though he boasts about marginal U.S. cuts in carbon emissions, his green light to fracking means that he’s probably given more of a boost to releases of methane — another dangerous greenhouse gas — than any man in history. And it’s not just the environment. At this point, given what we know about everything from drone warfare to HSA surveillance, the dream of a progressive Obama has, like so many dreams, faded away.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-mckibben/obama-keystone-xl-pipeline_b_4169791.html

    Obama gave us the escalation in Afghanistan, NDAA, the renewal of FISA and the Paytriot act, the attacks on Libya and Yemen, the extra legal murders of four American citizens, the torture and imprisonment of Chelsea Manning and he ignores mass unemployment, poverty and homelessness. He’s a Democrat, expect more of the same.

    Democrats are Republicans in drag.


    Thanks GP, another excellent piece.

  43. lynchie says:

    You forgot poisoned water, airborne pollution and unbreathable air.

  44. Tone says:

    I am not convinced that BC is as opposed as some of us would like. The tipping point in last year’s upset election that returned the appalling Christy Clark “Liberals” to office seems to be when (then) NDP leader Adrian Dix expressed opposition to expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline. That spooked rural and blue collar electors especially, who see jobs and prosperity in oil and gas, and they voted in droves to maintain a government more friendly to Ottawa’s vision. Let’s not forget either that federally BC is historically Tory blue, we gave Harpo 21 seats in the last election. The west is a solidly reliable Con voting block in Canada. I fear that the appearance of dilbit on BC shores is all but inevitable.

    I believe that protection of our coastlines will have to come from the courts. DFO seems to have no teeth anymore, and what they do know they are muzzled from saying. Protection certainly won’t come from the BC Legislature, not as long as Harpo has Christy in his back pocket…. and he does.

    Joe Oliver is the most dangerous kind of blithering idiot, he’s one with power. The really scary bit is that when he calls people like me a terrorist, he really seems to believe it.

  45. cambridgemac says:

    $100 billion in profits? That comes to $320 per person in the US – or $1280 for a family of four. Of course, we do get free tornados, deserts, floods, pests and famines. So, I for one applaud our Corporate Overlords!

  46. Indigo says:

    The planet’s going to cook anyhow but why we should add oil sludge to the mix is another one of those mysteries known only to the Koch Brothers who, apparently, own this country. I blame Nixon.

  47. nicho says:

    I’ve been tired of the Obama apologists since Barry went over to Goldman Sachs in 2009 and gave all their executives a Lewinsky.

  48. lynchie says:

    It all starts at the top. Obama supports this and is influenced by his remuneration after his second term ends. He will be available to be on the board of all these companies where he will be compensated for doing just what he has done for 5 years—absolutely NOTHING! I am so tired of the Obama apologists continue the harangue of “elect Obama–change you can believe in. I am still waiting……..

  49. Strepsi says:

    It’s also wild because our Prime Minister (who is from Alberta and is 100% behind any and all drill-baby-drill there) was stunned by the population in British Columbia who will NOT let the pipeline go west. The BC / Alaska panhandle is one of the most majestic coastlines in the world, and there is no chance BC people want a spill there.

    How shocked was our government? When citizens protested our Minister of Natural Resources called them “terrorists”… < _ <

  50. A_nonymoose says:

    Has anyone seen this column in the New York Times? After reading this, I almost feel sorry for the two of them. Almost.

  51. Houndentenor says:

    A dangerous substance is going to flow through our country from Canada to be sold in China. There is no benefit in this to any Americans other than any the Koch brothers and a few construction workers. Meanwhile the danger of a spill (like the one that happened near Conway, AR last year) is real. Will the Koch brothers pay for the clean-up from such a spill or will they pocket the profits while leaving the government they claim not to want to pick up the bill?

  52. nicho says:

    Four boxes of freedom.

    1. Soap box
    2. Ballot box
    3. Jury box
    4. Bullet box

  53. caphillprof says:

    Drinking water is fast becoming the most precious commodity on the planet. The northern Keystone XL pipeline is likely to poison the Ogallalah aquifer. $100 billion clearly trumps life itself. Where are the Catholics? Where are the alleged “pro-life” folk? No where to be seen.

  54. heimaey says:

    And we expect them to be able to live off of that (in 1000 lifetimes)?

  55. cole3244 says:

    it seems like the less ethical, moral, and liberal you are in capitalist america the more leeway and benefit of the doubt you are given to skirt justice and be successful, all bow to the great capitalist in the sky.

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