Of course, the way these profits work is what has created the false impression of price gouging, which these opportunistic politicians have been playing up. Net profits are set as a percentage of gross profits. So if oil products are selling at a higher price, that same percentage of profit will end up being more money as a result. Most of us should be familiar with this phenomenon even if we aren't involved in business. We can see it just by looking at the sales tax we pay on things we buy. If you buy something for a dollar with 8% sales tax, you pay 8 cents. If the price of the item goes up to $1.50, you pay 12 cents in tax. So if the price is higher the state makes more money without ever changing the tax rate. Oil company profits work in pretty much the same way. If oil is at $2 per gallon they make 16 cents. If it goes to $3 per gallon they make 24 cents.
The goal which these Senators are pushing towards with their efforts to paint the oil companies as piratical profiteers, is the institution of a Windfall Profits Tax similar to the one which we had in the 1980s, where the government just declares that certain companies are making too much money, and takes it away from them through a special arbitrary tax aimed just at them. This idea is being pushed particularly hard by Senator Hillary Clinton and some of her Democratic allies in the Senate. Putting aside the fact that such a tax is inherently unfair - with many companies in other industries making far higher profits and not being punished for it - it also doesn't work.
The problem with a Windfall Profits Tax is that these oil companies are international operations. If the tax rate they are charged in the US goes too high or is seen as unfair, they can just move more and more of their operations overseas and outside of US jurisdiction. This is exactly what happened under the previous Windfall Profits Tax, with the result that domestic oil production fell, overseas oil production increased, and a tax which was supposed to raise $320 billion ended up bringing in only $40 billion.