Soaring profits at two of the UK’s biggest energy companies have been described as an “insult” to millions of people struggling amid the cost of living crisis as the high oil and gas prices are funding multibillion-pound rewards for their shareholders.
British Gas owner Centrica enjoyed half-year profits that were five times higher than those in the first six months of 2021, while Shell attributed its enormous numbers to higher prices, refining profits, and gas trading.
Sky News reports: Shell has reported record profits of $11.5bn (£9.4bn) for the second quarter, more than double last year’s figure of $5.5bn (£4.5bn).
The oil giant had already smashed its own quarterly record at the start of the year when it clocked up profits of $9.1bn (£7.2bn), but the sums continued to rise into Q2.
Shell attributed the enormous numbers to higher prices, refining profits and gas trading, though this was partly offset by lower liquefied natural gas trading.
Its shareholder returns will remain “in excess of 30% of cash flow from operating activities,” it said.
The record cash flowing into energy companies like Shell has reignited calls for a tougher windfall tax on additional profits on oil and gas, the prices of which have soared as Russia invaded Ukraine and threatened to cut off gas supplies to Europe.
Meanwhile, British Gas owner Centrica enjoyed £1.3bn operating profits in the first six months of 2022, five times the amount from the same period last year of £262m.