New analysis has found that over the past twelve months, energy giant Shell has generated a staggering £31billion in excess profits. This has prompted fury among critics, as millions of Britons face unprecedented energy bill hikes, crippling inflation and a major cost of living crisis. Today, Shell has announced profits of £8.2billion for the third quarter of this year. The business said it made adjusted earnings of $9.5billion US dollars over the three months down from $11.5billion (£9.9billion) the quarter before. According to Global Witness, which conducted the analysis, this profit earned by the energy giant was in addition to the profits that they would make in a normal year.
Many energy companies have enjoyed record profits in the past year, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has thrown European energy security into chaos, which has led to record wholesale gas prices.
According to Global Witness, this £31billion excess profits is equivalent to the energy bills of about 12.5 million households in the UK, or would be enough to install heat pumps in 2.1 million homes.
They added that figure is almost half the £68billion sum that the Government would have needed under its original plan to freeze household energy bills for two years.
They also said that £31billion could the energy bills of everyone currently living on universal credit, along with providing emergency aid for all 19 million Yemeni’s caught in one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters, plus emergency shelter for all of the victims of Pakistan’s climate crisis caused floods – and still leave £17.1billion in excess profits for Shell’s shareholders.
Jonathan Gant, Fossil Fuels Campaigner at Global Witness, said: “Life is becoming harder and harder for people in Britain. Pensioners are going cold, children are going to school hungry, and people are scared for what winter will bring. There are no such concerns for Shell’s executives, who will be continuing to enjoy the high life while the rest of us suffer.
“What makes this disparity between people and polluters even more shocking is that it is companies like Shell that are both the architects and beneficiaries of our broken energy system, which has created this crisis. It is our deep dependence on the dirty fossil fuels that have made Shell so rich that is now impoverishing millions of people.
“As Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt look for ways to support their citizens, it should be blindingly obvious that energy firms are sitting on an untapped gold mine.
“It’s time to stop punishing people for a system they didn’t create and take the money this country desperately needs from the immense profits Shell and other energy companies are enjoying.”
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Despite the enormous revenue that a windfall tax on oil and gas profits could provide for the Treasury, the Government has so far rejected any such plans.
Speaking at her first prime minister’s question time in parliament, former leader Liz Truss said: “I am against a windfall tax. I believe it is the wrong thing to be putting companies off investing in the United Kingdom”.
However, with a change in leadership, it is believed that Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s next fiscal statement could contain plans for a windfall tax.
Some people took to Twitter to vent their fury at Shell’s exorbitant profits, as sports reporter Ian Abrahams wrote: “Government and oil companies should do their bit in this cost-of-living crisis, but for neither to do anything is disgraceful (Rant over).”
Meanwhile, Howard Cox of Fair Fuel UK said on Twitter: “The profits revealed today by Shell goes to show just how much drivers continue to be exploited.” Mr Cox urged the Government to cut fuel duty and do more to ensure falls in wholesale prices are passed on to motorists sooner.
Shell Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden said in a statement announcing the group’s quarterly results: “We are delivering robust results at a time of ongoing volatility in global energy markets.
“We continue to strengthen Shell’s portfolio through disciplined investment and transform the company for a low-carbon future. At the same time we are working closely with Governments and customers to address their short and long-term energy needs.”