Climate activists condemn surging oil and gas profits

Record profit announcements by Shell and Centrica show the energy system is broken, environmental campaigners said today.

Protest outside Shell AGM, 24 May 2022. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Shell revealed this morning it had doubled its profits for the second quarter of the year to £9.5bn. This beat the company’s previous high, set in January-March 2022, by 26%.

The British Gas owner, Centrica, increased its profits for the first half of 2022 fivefold to £1.3bn. This compared with £262m for the same time last year.

Centrica resumed dividend payments to shareholders, equivalent to £59m. The profits rise came from nuclear and oil and gas business, rather the British Gas supply business, it said.

The news followed yesterday’s predictions by the management consultancy BFY that the price cap for the average dual-fuel household tariff would reach £3,420 in October 2022 and £3,850 in January 2023.

The government has said that every UK household will get an energy bill discount of £400 this autumn. But the TUC has estimated that energy bills are rising 23 times faster than wages.

Lauren MacDonald, a climate activist with Stop Jackdaw, the campaign to stop Shell producing oil and gas from the Jackdaw field off Aberdeen, said today:

“It is obscene that Shell can be allowed to make this much money when many millions of families will be unable to afford to heat their homes. Profits of this size, when so many families will suffer, means the system is broken.

“The only way to fix it is to move away from fossil fuels and invest in long term solutions such as insulating homes and cheaper renewable energy.”

“This government, caretaker or not, needs to get a grip now. Short term measures – whether that’s the temporary windfall tax, a proposed cut in VAT on energy bills, or the current support package from the former Chancellor – are wholly insufficient and fail to address the problems at the core of our energy system.

“We can no longer rely on the highly-volatile, climate-wrecking fossil fuels to provide a safe, secure and affordable energy supply to UK households.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s oil and gas campaigner, Freya Aitchison, said:

“This announcement of yet another obscene profit for Shell is a clear sign that our broken energy system is completely unfit for purpose.

“Rising energy prices are a key driver of the cost of living crisis that has plunged millions of people in the UK into fuel poverty, yet bosses and shareholders at Shell are getting even richer by exploiting one of our most basic needs.”

“Shell is also worsening climate breakdown and extreme weather by continuing to invest and lock us into new oil and gas projects for decades to come.

“We must phase out fossil fuels and speed up the transition to renewables in order to overhaul our energy system and ensure that everyone has access to affordable and clean renewable energy.”

Friends of the Earth energy campaigner, Sana Yusuf, said:

“These bumper profits will be greeted with disbelief by the millions of people across the UK who are faced with rocketing energy prices.

“The government must impose a tougher windfall tax on energy firms. The bulk of these profits should be used to insulate our homes and help cash-strapped households pay for their heating this winter, rather than developing more fossil fuel projects that roast the planet.”

5 replies »

  1. Huge gratitude to all anazing activists I am unable to do it right now I was active for few years but got burnt out So a huge debt of gratitude to all who fight this insanity ad evil corruption.

  2. Just think of all those pensioners to get those dividends to boost their pensions who will be able to afford to heat and eat this winter! They may even be able to add a bit more insulation, although I suspect they are insulated already via previous dividends. Some will even be paying out regular amounts to their offspring who need help to do the same, whilst they moan about the cost of heating and eating. Perhaps, the boot was not on the other foot in 2020?

  3. It’s difficult to see, Jono, how anyone – well, almost anyone – can view these programmes and still believe in the integrity of the FF companies, much less trust them and their compliant governments.

  4. Well, they appear worried in Germany, Jono! Is that cuckoo land? The lady in the swimming pool seemed to like the water unheated-but she was the only one swimming! I think that was the BBC, but it may have been the other lot.

    I think you may even find a load of UK pension funds contain Shell, just because they pay a high income most years to ermm pensioners. Is that cuckoo land?

    Now for those who want to preclude such investments from their own income then by all means moan about it, but don’t expect much sympathy.

    And, yes, I know quite a few in the UK who are then paying out some of that income to their younger relatives to help them through the cost of living issue. Many who were that bit younger in the 1970’s and saw what energy insecurity did then, and then as they became older made plans to protect themselves against a repeat. And, they all have well insulated properties, as one of the plans. Perhaps a few who do not have well insulated properties could have if they had done the same? Can but hope the younger relatives make a bit of an effort to use the extra as wisely.

    Of course, it may also be convenient to forget that companies like Shell pay a much higher level of tax on their oil/gas business than other businesses in UK, even without windfall taxes, so when they are making a lot of money they are paying a lot of tax already. It is not within their power as to how that is spent. Maybe if less was spent subsidizing other industries there would be more available to subsidize consumers?

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