Wall Street

Drilling vs returns. U.S. oil producers’ tradeoff as windfall tax threatens

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By Liz Hampton (Reuters) – U.S. oil producers profiting from sky-high prices are doling out billions to shareholders and building cash reserves, a strategy irking lawmakers and voters struggling with record fuel prices while winning over Wall Street. Soaring fuel prices have boosted inflation to a 40-year record and are expected to drive up U.S. gasoline by more than a dollar to $6 a gallon by August. That prospect has some officials arguing the industry’s focus on returns is benefiting a few at the expense of consumers. The tradeoff between rising payouts for just a single quarter and more sp…

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