British multinational oil and gas company Shell made a record $40 billion profit last year, the highest in its 115-years of existence, as Russia’s offensive in Ukraine sent oil and gas prices soaring. According to an earnings statement on Thursday (February 2), the post-tax figure was more than double the amount achieved in 2021. A report by the news agency Reuters said the annual profit was $39.9 billion, far exceeding the previous record of $31 billion in 2008. The gains were driven by higher oil and gas prices, robust refining margins and a strong performance from the company’s trading business.
Shell also posted a record fourth-quarter profit of $9.8 billion on the back of a strong recovery in earnings from liquefied natural gas (LNG) trading. “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,” the company’s new chief executive Wael Sawan said in the results statement.
The company now said that it would return a further $4 billion to shareholders following huge buybacks already last year, and would also significantly lift its dividend after the record earnings.
However, on Thursday, Shell faced criticism from environmental campaigners and justice groups for reaping record profits at the expense of the planet.
”(It’s) not just obscene but it’s also shameless because they are doing..they’re reaping those record profits at the expense of people and the planet. Yesterday, hundreds of thousands of people went out on the streets to protest and strike against their low pay and the rising cost of living,” Dorothy Guerrero, the head of policy of London-based Global Justice Now, told Reuters on Thursday.
“Yesterday, hundreds of thousands of people went out on the streets to protest and strike against their low pay and the rising cost of living. Me and many of my colleagues also went on the streets to support them. While oil giants like Shell are lining the pockets of their shareholders from these profits that they made,” Guerrero added.
The top official at Global Justice Now also said that there was a refusal from the government to impose a windfall tax on oil giants and also to help alleviate those suffering.
On the other hand, Greenpeace, an environmental campaigner, held a protest outside Shell’s London headquarters and said the oil giant was “profiteering from climate destruction.”
(With inputs from agencies)
You can now write for wionews.com and be a part of the community. Share your stories and opinions with us here.