Crude oil prices, which is the single largest factor that affects the company’s revenues, has a history of high price volatility and since Chevron does not protect itself from significant variations in crude oil prices, a decline in crude oil prices would have a significant impact on the company’s revenues. Since July 2008, crude oil has fallen 64 percent from a record $147.27 to about $53 a barrel.  The company announced in December 2008 it would postpone announcing its 2009 capital spending plans from December to the end of January in order to reevaluate its budget. 
Congress is considering moving funding from Big Oil to alternative energy. Right now, one of the ways Big Oil builds on its record profits is to enjoy billions of dollars in tax breaks and subsidies from the U.S. government. However, with gas prices rising, and the summer rally finally underway with crude oil prices, some on Capitol Hill feel that the free ride for Big Oil has gone on long enough. June 19 marks the introduction of a bill that would take $14 billion from Big Oil over 10 years and give it to alternative energy. Not only that, but some Senate Democrats are prepared to start charging royalties from oil and gas drilled in federal waters. Right now, Big Oil gets to drill in government-owned waters without having to pay a dime in royalties, further contributing to profits.
Companies like Exxon (XOM) and lobbying groups like the American Petroleum Institute are protesting, as one would expect. They say that taking money away from oil exploration and drilling in the U.S. increases our energy dependence. Those that support the bill, of course, say that, in the long run, investing in alternative and renewable energy will prove to break us free from foreign oil needs.
The Venezuelan government has disclosed plans to nationalize Helmerich & Payne’s (NYSE: HP) 11 idle rigs in the country. The government will pay Helmerich & Payne for the fleet of oil rigs that was seized. Starting in 2007, Hugo Chavez has nationalized parts of Venezuela’s oil industry. Chevron's five oil drills in Venezuela may be nationalized, as well, which would have an adverse effect on Chevron's operations in that country.
For the past 15 years, a class action lawsuit has been litigated on behalf of 125,000 people living near the Amazon River. The lawsuit alleges Texaco (now owned by Chevron) improperly dumped wastewater and coated dirt roads with oil, polluting the environment. A ruling is expected in 2009 in which Chevron could be held liable for up to $27.3 billion in damages. One scientific team found petroleum hydrocarbons at levels deemed unsafe by national standards in 44 percent of the water samples it tested. The team identified cadmium, barium, lead and other heavy metals in the mud of wastewater pits left by Chevron, and said 80 percent of them require cleanup.