Pay skyrockets at oil and gas firms

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Oil-and-gas discoveries, such as North Dakota’s Bakken formation, likely play into the wage hikes. And technological advances have reduced the costs of extracting resources from those new plays.

The news comes as some prominent GOP politicians consider stripping the oil-and-gas industry of a handful of subsidies.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney said in last week’s presidential debate that ending those tax breaks was on the table. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said the same on Monday, with the caveat that green energy subsidies would need to go, too.

Both politicians also want to reduce the corporate tax rate, which would benefit oil-and-gas firms.

The oil-and-gas industry has fought to preserve the tax breaks, arguing the loss of them would disadvantage smaller, independent drillers while also deterring investment in new drilling.

The White House has centered most of its plans to raise $40 billion over 10 years from ending “Big Oil” subsidies by targeting the largest, most profitable firms.

The Obama administration, along with many Democrats, support a plan that would prevent five major integrated oil companies from claiming certain deductions on drilling costs. They also want to end those firms’ ability to use a handsome deduction for domestic manufacturing income, along with axing other incentives.

Senate Democrats put those provisions in a bill that failed by a 51-47 vote in March.

Republican Maine Sens. Susan Collins and the retiring Olympia Snowe were the only GOP members to vote for the bill, while retiring Democratic Sens. Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Jim Webb (Va.), along with Mary Landrieu (La.) and Mark Begich (Alaska), crossed the aisle to vote against it.

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