Cost of living crisis: Here is how much profit Shell made in its first quarter in 2022 due to rising oil and gas prices
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The oil giant joined rival BP in posting better-than-expected underlying earnings for the first three months of 2022, at 9.1 billion US dollars (£7.2 billion).
This is nearly three times higher than the 3.2 billion dollars (£2.5 billion) reported a year earlier.
Calls are mounting from Labour and the Liberal Democrats for a windfall tax on oil and gas firms to help ease the cost-of-living crisis.
A windfall tax is a charge levied on an unforeseen or unexpectedly large profit – usually placed on figures which are regarded as excessive.
The sector is reaping the benefits of rocketing oil and gas prices, which have been pushed to record levels by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and surging demand as economies emerge from the pandemic.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has so far resisted pressure to make the firms pay more tax, instead looking to companies making big profits to invest the cash back into the UK.
Liberal Democrat leader, Sir Ed Davey, condemned the Government’s refusal to consider the move.
He said: ‘Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak’s refusal to tax the super-profits of energy companies is completely unforgivable when people are too terrified to heat their homes.
‘The excuses of Conservative ministers have been demolished by the boss of BP himself, who said a windfall tax wouldn’t damage investment in the UK.
‘This one-off levy would raise billions of pounds that could help vulnerable families with their energy bills now. It is a no-brainer.’
Campaign group Greenpeace said a windfall tax would be the ‘fastest and fairest way to ease pressure on households feeling the pinch and reduce our dependence on oil and gas’.
Greenpeace UK’s oil and gas campaigner, Philip Evans, said: ‘By using a big chunk of the bloated profits that Shell, BP and others are raking in to make homes warmer, more energy-efficient and kitted out with heat pumps, the Government could start to really tackle the climate and cost-of-living crises simultaneously.’
Shell’s figures have taken a hit due to the company pulling out of Russia, booking a 3.9 billion dollar (£3.1 billion) charge.
Despite this, it still saw current cost of supply (CCS) earnings attributable to shareholders jump to 5 billion dollars (£4 billion) in the quarter, up from 4.3 billion dollars (£3.4 billion) a year ago, though it was down 38 per cent on the previous three months.
According to Reuters, the business is also planning to reduce oil and gas trading with the country.
Ben van Beurden, chief executive of Shell, said: ‘The war in Ukraine is first and foremost a human tragedy, but it has also caused significant disruption to global energy markets and has shown that secure, reliable and affordable energy simply cannot be taken for granted.
‘The impacts of this uncertainty and the higher cost that comes with it are being felt far and wide.
‘We have been engaging with governments, our customers and suppliers to work through the challenging implications and provide support and solutions where we can.’