Shell Rakes in $9.1 Billion in First Quarter. What Does It Mean for the Rising Cost of Living?
Shell reported record high earnings of $9.13 billion in the first quarter of 2022, prompting action from lawmakers to impose higher taxes on gas companies to aid those struggling amidst rising prices.
While gas prices soar, Shell reported "obscene" profits of $9.13 billion in the first quarter of 2022 — and they aren’t the only ones. BP and Total Energies also raked in record-high revenue despite significant hits taken as oil giants exited operations in Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.
The massive earnings have prompted lawmakers from Britain’s Labor Party to intervene, advocating for a windfall tax to mitigate the struggles of a rising cost of living.
“By using a big chunk of the bloated profits that Shell, BP and others are raking in to make homes warmer, more energy efficient and kitted out with heat pumps, the government could start to really tackle the climate and cost of living crises simultaneously,” says Philip Evans oil and gas campaigner of Greenpeace UK, in a statement to The Guardian.
Still, despite lawmakers repeatedly calling on Boris Johnson to enforce higher taxes on oil and gas companies, he has rejected the pleas, stating that the move would discourage investors and cause prices to stay high in the long run. Meanwhile, as shares rose 3% Thursday morning, Shell is incentivizing holders.
The oil giant plans to buy back $8.5 billion shares in the first half of the year and expects shareholder distributions to exceed 30% of cash flow in the second half.
It remains unclear whether the oil earnings will continue to hit record highs as gas prices rise and contribute to inflation, but Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden says the company has been "engaging with governments, customers and suppliers to work through the challenging implications and provide support and solutions where [they] can."
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