A former senator from New Hampshire, John Sununu, has a good explainer in the Boston Globe on oil-and-gas-company taxes:
The only problem is that on careful inspection, some of these "special interest" tax breaks just don't look very special.
President Obama called for eliminating "over $4 billion per year" in oil company benefits (and spending the proceeds on energy subsidies he likes). The largest of four main targets is called the manufacturers tax credit because — surprise — it's available to every manufacturer in the United States. Redefining "manufacturer" to exclude oil and gas companies would raise their taxes by $1.7 billion per year. (Full disclosure: I was one of a handful of senators who opposed the creation of this tax credit in 2005.) Maybe energy producers shouldn't count as "real" manufacturers; better yet, maybe we shouldn't have one tax system for manufacturers and another for everyone else.
The second target is the foreign tax credit, available not just to manufacturers, but to every American company doing business overseas. The government gives a credit for taxes paid to foreign governments. Some politicians think we should take this away from energy companies...