LONDON: British energy giant Shell on Thursday unveiled record annual net profit of $42.3 billion thanks to surging oil and gas prices, sparking outrage from green groups and unions as the UK...
LONDON: British energy giant Shell on Thursday unveiled record annual net profit of $42.3 billion thanks to surging oil and gas prices, sparking outrage from green groups and unions as the UK endures a cost-of-living crisis.
The post-tax figure, fuelled by the invasion of Ukraine by major energy producer Russia, was more than double the amount achieved in 2021, Shell´s earnings statement revealed. Revenue rocketed 45 percent to a dizzying $381 billion in 2022, mirroring huge gains by rivals.
Colossal profits for energy majors worldwide have sparked public fury as consumers see the cost of heating and lighting their homes and businesses rocket. Environmental campaigner Greenpeace on Thursday protested outside Shell´s London headquarters, arguing that the group is “profiteering from climate destruction”.
The Trades Union Congress said an increased windfall tax could help fund wage rises for public sector workers currently locked in a wave of strikes in protests over pay that lags soaring inflation.
“Instead of holding down the pay of paramedics, teachers, firefighters and millions of other hard-pressed public servants, ministers should be making big oil and gas pay their fair share,” said TUC general secretary Paul Nowak.
Shell said it would return a further $4 billion to shareholders following huge buybacks already last year -- and would significantly lift its dividend -- following the record earnings. “Our results in the fourth quarter and across the full year demonstrate the strength of Shell´s differentiated portfolio, as well as our capacity to deliver vital energy to our customers in a volatile world,” new chief executive Wael Sawan said in the results statement.
Shell is looking to reinvent itself under the company´s former renewables boss Sawan, who replaced Ben van Beurden in the top seat at the start of the year. Energy firms are under increasing pressure to step up efforts to transition away from fossil fuels as the world scrambles to become a net-zero emissions economy by 2050.
But Shell rival BP said Monday that while the transition could be accelerated by Russia´s war in Ukraine, “oil continues to play a major role in the global energy system for the next 15-20 years”.
The invasion a year ago of Ukraine by its neighbour Russia sent oil and gas prices rocketing. Russia is a major producer of fossil fuels and the war resulted in slashed supplies. Chevron, a US oil company, in its quarterly earnings reported that it collected $35.5 billion in its highest-ever annual profit in 2022, more than double the prior year and about one-third higher than its previous record in 2011.
Almost $50 billion in cash streamed in from its oil-leveraged operations, another record that is underpinning plans to pay investors through a new $75 billion share-repurchase programme over the next several years.
ExxonMobil earned nearly $56 billion in profit in 2022, setting an annual record not just for itself but for any US or European oil giant. Energy companies have been reporting blockbuster profits since last year, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent oil prices sharply higher.