Anger as Shell makes ‘obscene’ $40bn in profits

Oil and gas giant Shell has reported its highest profits in 115 years.

Shell made a record profit of almost $40 billion in 2022, more than double what it raked in the previous year after oil and gas prices soared following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, The Guardian reports.

The profits have prompted widespread anger and criticism. 

The boost for the company also comes as households struggle to pay massive energy bills. 

Paul Nowak, general secretary of the TUC, said the profits were “obscene” and “an insult to working families”.

Shell is the largest oil company in Europe. 

The earnings are the latest in a series of record-setting results by the world’s biggest energy companies, which have enjoyed bumper profits off the back of soaring oil and gas prices.

That has led to renewed calls for higher taxation. 

Governments in the European Union and the United Kingdom have already imposed windfall taxes on oil company profits, with the proceeds used to help households struggling with rising energy bills, CNN reports.

Shell was criticized in October when it said it had paid no UK windfall tax up to that point. Last month, the company said it expected to take a hit of about $2 billion to its earnings for the final quarter of 2022 as a result of windfall taxes in the UK and EU.

The step up in Shell and its competitors’ profits during 2022 prompted the UK government to introduce a windfall tax on North Sea operators. 

Shell has also been accused of overstating how much it is spending on renewable energy, and faced calls this week to be investigated and potentially fined by the U.S. financial regulator.

Shell’s eye-watering profits also come as nearly 14,000 Nigerians take the company to court over the devastating impacts of pollution. 

Nearly 14,000 people from two Nigerian communities are seeking justice in the high court in London against the fossil fuel giant Shell, claiming it is responsible for the devastating pollution of their water sources and the destruction of their way of life.

Shell, which declared profits of more than $30 billion for the first three quarters of 2022, argues that the communities have no legal standing to force it to clean up. 

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