(Feb 7): The stellar annual profits of Shell plc and BP plc — almost US$68 billion combined — are set to intensify the debate on UK taxation as households suffer a cost-of-living crisis driven partly by rocketing oil and gas prices.
Homes in Britain saw energy bills more than double last year, while motorists paid record prices at the pump. The soaring profits of oil and gas producers, and the deluge of cash they channelled to shareholders, have sparked the ire of politicians and unions, many of whom have called for higher windfall taxes.
BP reported full-year adjusted profit of US$27.65 billion on Tuesday, an all-time high, with earnings at its retail division more than tripling as petrol prices surged. The company announced a 10% increase in the dividend and an extra US$2.75 billion of share buybacks.
Shell posted a record US$39.87 billion result last week and moved ahead with a further US$4 billion of buybacks, plus a planned 15% dividend hike.