Do you pay more tax than the big fossil fuel companies?


For all the environmental and climate destruction wrought by the fossil fuel industry here in Australia and globally, you’d think there must be a significant payback through taxes, right?

Well, sadly, there are ways for massive fossil fuel companies to minimise their tax bills in Australia, and these companies are super savvy at taking advantage of tax avoidance methods.

Just check out the table below, which shows 71 fossil fuel companies, with a combined revenue of $89 billion in Australia in 2017/18, that are paying far less than their fair share!

In most cases, the company tax paid is a big fat zero.

What makes this even harder to swallow are the whopping pay cheques and bonuses these companies’ bosses take home, while destroying our environment and contributing nothing to the Australian public purse.

All data is sourced from the Australian Tax Office and was last updated 12 December 2019.


CompanySector2017-18 Revenue ($m)2017-18 Taxable Income ($m)2017-18 Tax Payable ($m)2016-17 Revenue ($m)2016-17 Taxable Income ($m)2016-17 Tax Payable ($m)2015-16 Revenue ($m)2015-16 Taxable Income ($m)2015-16 Tax Payable ($m)
EXXONMOBIL AUSTRALIA PTY LTDOil & Gas9,234.2008,360.8006,728.600
WOODSIDE PETROLEUM LTDOil & Gas6,287.31,284.606,595.2944.607,085.61,558.273.5
AUSTRALIA PACIFIC LNG PTY LTDOil & Gas5,292.4003,582.800911.600
CHEVRON AUSTRALIA HOLDINGS PTY LTDOil & Gas5,274.3002,239.1002,142.300
SHELL ENERGY HOLDINGS AUSTRALIA LIMITEDOil & Gas4,575.4200.605,422.6004,236.797.30
PEABODY AUSTRALIA HOLDCO PTY LTDCoal4,323.9003,591.4002,875.400
YANCOAL AUSTRALIA LIMITEDCoal4,206.58.202,084.4001,460.300
BG INTERNATIONAL (AUS) PTY LIMITEDOil & Gas3,654.9002,961.4006,252.500
SANTOS LIMITEDOil & Gas3,498003,715.3003,47600
PUMA ENERGY (AUSTRALIA) HOLDINGS PTY LTDOil & Gas2,521.9002,145.2002,192.700
WHITEHAVEN COAL LIMITEDCoal2,307.7002,397.8001,577.600
INTERNATIONAL POWER (AUSTRALIA) HOLDINGS PTY LTDUtilities2,053001,388.6001,232.400
PETRONAS AUSTRALIA PTY LIMITEDOil & Gas2,018.300543.80.20
VICTORIA POWER NETWORKS PTY LTDUtilities1,493001,578.7001,669.600
CNOOC GAS AND POWER (AUS) INVESTMENT PTY LTDOil & Gas1,358.6001,278.3001,032.700
QUADRANT ENERGY HOLDINGS PTY LTDOil & Gas1,334.79.301,224.800710.100
ULAN COAL MINES LIMITEDCoal1,304.5001,031.400948.200
CLERMONT COAL MINES LTDCoal1,229.6001,017.5001,05500
BANPU AUSTRALIA CO. PTY LTDCoal1,156.20.30916.200929.600
CONOCOPHILLIPS AUSTRALIA GAS HOLDINGS PTY LTDOil & Gas1,083.110201,063.19701,464.3107.80
WORLEYPARSONS LIMITEDOil & Gas1,007001,059.16.201,464.3310
AUSDRILL LIMITEDOil & Gas812.500742.900669.400
TOTAL E&P HOLDINGS (AUSTRALIA) PTY LTDOil & Gas781.100295.300
MIDDLEMOUNT COAL PTY LTDCoal691.300514.200444.700
OZGEN HOLDINGS AUSTRALIA PTY LTDUtilities650.300323.900219.200
ARROW ENERGY HOLDINGS PTY LTDOil & Gas617.10023100207.200
GS COAL HOLDINGS PTY LTD (Glencore)Coal613.455.90512.300482.800
CLIFFS NATURAL RESOURCES HOLDINGS PTY LTDCoal603.500749.200685.200
SCHLUMBERGER AUSTRALIA PTY LTDOil & Gas594.300725001,065.926.45.9
ENSHAM COAL SALES PTY LTDCoal584.100448.90.50.2355.10.10
AUSGRID MANAGEMENT PTY LTDUtilities583.900409.100
MILLER POHANG COAL COMPANY PTY LTDCoal56100432.900405.700
PREMIER COAL HOLDINGS PTY LTDCoal543.600381.500459.100
KOGAS AUSTRALIA PTY LTDOil & Gas49200347.200
AUSGRID FINANCE PTY LTDUtilities487.400238.700
WASHINGTON H. SOUL PATTINSON AND COMPANY LIMITEDCoal469.8197.90293.9171.40235.81540
BM ALLIANCE COAL OPERATIONS PTY LTDCoal405.100385.800363.200
NCIG HOLDINGS PTY LIMITEDCoal40300783.100388.400
KUWAIT PETROLEUM AVIATION (AUSTRALIA)PTY LIMITEDOil & Gas400.100261.900252.200
TOKYO GAS AUSTRALIA PTY LTDOil & Gas397.572.50375.10039500
UNITED ENERGY DISTRIBUTION HOLDINGS PTY LTDOil & Gas331.100692.700666.100
PETRO NATIONAL PTY LIMITEDOil & Gas315.200000
PERTH ENERGY HOLDINGS PTY LTDUtilities283.600343.700
GE POWER HOLDINGS AUSTRALIA PTY LTDUtilities280.50025400265.100
PUMA ENERGY (AUSTRALIA) ASSETS HOLDINGS PTY LTDOil & Gas2800.40196.900229.600
PTTEP AUSTRALIA PERTH PTY LTDOil & Gas277.800306.60045600
MERIDIAN ENERGY AUSTRALIA PTY LIMITEDUtilities274.700267.200170.900
HALLIBURTON CONSOLIDATED PTY LTDOil & Gas262.800205.90042600
ENERGY RESOURCES OF AUSTRALIA LTDUtilities260.800313.300367.900
STANMORE COAL LIMITEDCoal212.70014100
KANSAI ELECTRIC POWER HOLDINGS AUSTRALIA PTY LTDUtilities204.734.30211.6310
BLUEWATERS POWER 2 PTY LTDUtilities188.200164.100146.340
PETRO DIAMOND AUSTRALIA PTY LTDOil & Gas17400000
MAULES CREEK MARKETING PTY LTDCoal172.900101.100
INPEX HOLDINGS AUSTRALIA PTY LTDOil & Gas159.600144.400283.600
SINOPEC OIL AND GAS AUSTRALIA PTY LTDOil & Gas146.800159.200164.500
RIVERINA OILS & BIO ENERGY PTY LTDOil & Gas143.200135.200126.700
SPRINGVALE SK KORES PTY LIMITEDCoal140.700128.700126.600
QUASAR RESOURCES PTY LTDUtilities138.600158.800
TOTAL E&P AUSTRALIAOil & Gas134.700114.400
BLUEWATERS POWER 1 PTY LTDUtilities130.700131.500124.800
GE ENERGY HOLDINGS AUSTRALIA PTY LTDOil & Gas119.500118.80013900
ENI AUSTRALIA BVOil & Gas110.400117.500121.400
BOC AIP LIMITED PARTNERSHIP (CONSOLIDATED)Oil & Gas191.8273.90133.6190.70148.2211.60.1
HVO COAL SALES PTY LTDCoal1,728.90.201,593.100457.500
AUSTRALIAN GAS NETWORKS HOLDINGS PTY LIMITEDUtilities618.40.40.1590.800615.300
AUSTRALIA BUNKERING PTY LIMITEDOil & Gas132.70.90.3128.110.3134.61.90.6
DIAMOND OFFSHORE GENERAL COMPANYOil & Gas1751.10.3284.44.61.4233.900
MOBIL PNG GAS HOLDINGS PTY LTDOil & Gas1401.20.4259.40.90.3902.30.40.1
FREEDOM ENERGY HOLDINGS PTY LTDOil & Gas1,183.81.80.5863.51.90.61,025.75.31.6
JKC AUSTRALIA LNG PTY LTDOil & Gas4,098.22.80.83,605.744.813.45,190.9189.356.8
CompanySector2015-16
Revenue $m
2015-16
Taxable income $m
2015-16
Tax payable $m
GLENCORE INVESTMENT PTY LIMITEDCoal 18,349.03 --
VIVA ENERGY AUSTRALIA PTY LTDOil & Gas 16,773.21 --
ENERGYAUSTRALIA HOLDINGS LIMITEDUtilities 7,755.88 --
EXXONMOBIL AUSTRALIA PTY LTDOil & Gas 6,728.56 --
BG INTERNATIONAL (AUS) PTY LIMITEDOil & Gas 6,252.52 --
MITSUBISHI DEVELOPMENT PTY LTDCoal 4,723.90 --
ANGLO AMERICAN AUSTRALIA LIMITEDCoal 3,687.43 155.97-
SOUTH32 LIMITEDCoal 3,494.11 --
PEABODY AUSTRALIA HOLDCO PTY LTDCoal 2,875.36 --
ALINTA HOLDINGSUtilities 2,376.80 --
PUMA ENERGY (AUSTRALIA) HOLDINGS PTY LTDOil & Gas 2,192.74 --
CHEVRON AUSTRALIA HOLDINGS PTY LTDOil & Gas 2,142.26 --
VICTORIA POWER NETWORKS PTY LTDUtilities 1,669.65 --
WHITEHAVEN COAL LIMITEDCoal 1,577.62 --
CONOCOPHILIPS AUSTRALIA GAS HOLDINGS PTY LTDOil & Gas 1,464.32 107.75-
YANCOAL AUSTRALIA LIMITEDCoal 1,460.27 --
MARUBENI AUSTRALIA LIMITEDOil & Gas 1,298.33 39.53-
INTERNATIONAL POWER (AUSTRALIA) HOLDINGS PTY LTDUtilities 1,232.41 --
CLERMONT COAL MINES LTDCoal 1,055.03 --
CNOOC GAS AND POWER (AUS) INVESTMENT PTY LTDOil & Gas 1,032.73 --
ULAN COAL MINES LIMITEDCoal948.200.000.00
BANPU AUSTRALIA CO. PTY LTDCoal929.61--
AUSTRALIA PACIFIC LNG PTY LTDOil & Gas911.61--
MOBIL PNG GAS HOLDINGS PTY LTDOil & Gas902.320.410.12
PARK PTY LTDOil & Gas854.560.990.30
AGL GENERATION HOLDCO PTY LTDUtilities733.25--
QUADRANT ENERGY HOLDINGS PTY LTDOil & Gas710.11--
WARKWORTH COAL SALES LTDCoal678.361.980.01
AUSDRILL LIMITEDOil & Gas669.37--
UNITED ENERGY DISTRIBUTION HOLDINGS PTY LTDUtilities666.10--
AUSTRALIAN GAS NETWORKS HOLDINGS PTY LIMITEDUtilities615.32--
ALINTA POWER CAT PTY LTDUtilities547.020.04-
GS COAL HOLDINGS PTY LTDCoal482.84--
PREMIER COAL HOLDINGS PTY LTDCoal459.14--
HVO COAL SALES PTY LTDCoal457.52--
PTTEP AUSTRALIA PERTH PTY LTDOil & Gas456.03--
MIDDLEMOUNT COAL PTY LTDCoal444.68--
MILLER POHANG COAL COMPANY PTY LTDCoal405.71--
TOKYO GAS AUSTRALIA PTY LTDOil & Gas395.03--
NCIG HOLDINGS PTY LIMITEDCoal388.40--
DBNGP (WA) TRANSMISSION PTY LTDUtilities383.55--
ENERGY RESOURCES OF AUSTRALIAUtilities367.95--
BM ALLIANCE COAL OPERATIONS PTY LIMITEDCoal363.19--
ENSHAM COAL SALES PTY LTDCoal355.070.100.03
ADANI ABBOT POINT TERMINAL HOLDINGS PTY LTDCoal351.48--
QCOAL PTY LTDCoal327.91--
VIVA ENERGY REFINING PTY LTDOil & Gas306.152.58-
PERTH ENERGY PTY LTDUtilities301.19--
GE POWER HOLDINGS AUSTRALIA PTY LTDUtilities265.06--
KUWAIT PETROLEUM AVIATION (AUSTRALIA) PTY LIMITEDOil & Gas252.21--
J-POWER AUSTRALIA PTY. LTD.Coal238.443.04-
WASHINGTON H. SOUL PATTINSON AND COMPANY LIMITEDCoal235.81153.98-
ADANI MINERALS PTY LTDCoal232.97--
PUMA ENERGY (AUSTRALIA) ASSETS HOLDINGS PTY LTDOil & Gas229.56--
OZGEN HOLDINGS AUSTRALIA PTY LTDUtilities219.21--
ARROW ENERGY HOLDINGS PTY LTDOil & Gas207.24--
KANSAI ELECTRIC POWER AUSTRALIA PTY LTDOil & Gas205.7230.55-
CHINA RAILWAY MATERIALS (AUSTRALIA) PTY LIMITEDCoal196.740.200.06
CLICK ENERGY GROUP HOLDINGS PTY LTDUtilities173.79--
DRILLSEARCH ENERGY PTY LIMITEDOil & Gas172.5729.14-
MERIDIAN ENERGY AUSTRALIA PTY LIMITEDUtilities170.94--
SINOPEC OIL AND GAS AUSTRALIA PTY LTDOil & Gas164.53--
WONBINDI COAL PTY LIMITEDCoal158.96--
BOC AIP LIMITED PARTNERSHIP (CONSOLIDATED)Oil & Gas148.20211.590.05
BLUEWATERS POWER 2 PTY LTDUtilities146.314.05-
SPARK INFRASTRUCTURE HOLDINGS NO 2 PTY LIMITEDUtilities145.38--
SENEX ENERGY LIMITEDOil & Gas143.42--
ADANI MINING PTY LTDCoal139.56--
TAP OIL LIMITEDOil & Gas135.73--
AUSTRALIA BUNKERING PTY LIMITEDOil & Gas134.601.880.56
AWE LIMITEDOil & Gas125.21--
BLUEWATERS POWER 1 PTY LIMITEDUtilities124.81--
BLUEWATER (GLAS DOWR) N.VOil & Gas123.10--
ENI AUSTRALIA BVOil & Gas121.36--
DUET INVESTMENT HOLDINGS LIMITEDUtilities118.57--
MACQUARIE COAL MARKETING PTY LIMITEDCoal115.230.000.00
ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENTS PTY LTDUtilities114.40--
QENERGY LIMITEDUtilities111.18--
ENGIE SERVICES AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALANDHOLDINGS PTY LTDUtilities108.87--
VIVA ENERGY HOLDING PTY LTDOil & Gas107.05--
WORLD FUEL SERVICES (AUSTRALIA) PTY LTDOil & Gas101.650.130.04
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Company Tax Avoidance Trends

The table on the right shows the top 10 fossil fuel tax avoiders over the 5 years to FY2018.

Of these, the three biggest tax avoiders are:

  1. ExxonMobil, one of the world’s largest oil companies and one of the largest companies by revenue in the world. Along with Chevron, ExxonMobil is developing the Gorgon LNG project off the coast of Western Australia.
  2. Peabody Energy, the world’s biggest privately owned coal producer. All four of Australia’s big four banks have been exposed to Peabody’s projects, including Peabody’s purchase of Macarthur Coal in October 2011 and the Wambo coal mine in NSW.
  3. Chrevron: The worst of a bad bunch?

Perhaps one of Australia’s most egregious examples of corporate fossil fuel behaviour is Chevron. 

Despite Chevron being ordered to pay more than $300 million in taxes in 2017 after being pursued by the ATO, it again paid zero company tax in Australia 2018, making it five years in a row since records began. About the 2017 ruling, Jason Ward from the Tax Justice Network told the ABC: “It sends a clear message to Chevron and other multinationals that these tax dodging schemes won’t be allowed any longer.”

Meanwhile Chevron Australia gave $124,685 to Australia’s major political parties in FY2019.

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Chevron’s influence is having a direct impact on our climate too – half of Australia’s annual CO2 emissions increase in 2018 was linked to a failed carbon capture and storage (CCS) project at the Gorgon LNG project in Western Australia, a joint venture between Chevron, ExxonMobil and Shell. This so-called ‘Gorgon Carbon Dioxide Injection project’ is backed by a $60 million federal government direct subsidy paid for by your tax dollars.

Avoidance methods

Tax havens

One of the main ways fossil fuel companies minimise or avoid their tax bills is by shifting profits offshore via parent or subsidiary companies.

As tax is paid on profit, rather than revenue, companies can structure themselves so that the bulk of profits are eventually recorded by a subsidiary or parent company that’s registered in low- or no-tax nations (tax havens). To learn more about tax avoidance and take action to stamp it out, head to taxjustice.org.au

Tax breaks

Fossil fuel companies are also able to take advantage of a range of tax breaks that encourage the production or consumption of fossil fuels.

We’ve crunched the numbers on the tax-based fossil fuel subsidies that cost us $10 billion every year. Find out more here!

Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (PRRT)

The Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (PRRT) is the major tax system for oil and gas production in Australia. It is paid based on profits, once those profits reach above a set threshold.

With Australia’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) set to become one of Australia’s biggest exports in the not too distant future, analyses have shown the PRRT will fail to collect any new revenue from the sector for decades.

This equates to something of a ‘free ride’ for Australia’s dirty LNG industry, encouraging expansion when we desperately need to shrink this highly emissions intensive industry.

A much-touted federal parliamentary inquiry into the PRRT system in 2017 sadly resulted in few changes.