Shell Oil makes highest profit in 115 years while pensioners freeze in their homes
Shell’s net profit surged to a record $42.3b in 2022, the British energy firm revealed on 2 January. The post-tax figure was more than double that of 2021, according to the group’s earnings statement.
The oil giant’s revenue rocketed 45% to a dizzying $381b in 2022. The BBC reported that this was “double last year’s total and the highest in its 115-year history”.
Colossal profits for energy companies have provoked public fury amid a cost-of-living crisis fuelled by sky-high energy bills.
Critics and anti-capitalists expressed outrage at the level of profit going to CEOs and shareholders while normal people struggled.
The Enough is Enough campaign said the title of “greedy” belonged to executives rather than ordinary workers, many of whom have been striking for fair pay just this week :
🚨 NEW: Oil giant Shell has just recorded £32,200,000,000 in profit – the highest in 115 years.
Will we see its corporate executives named and shamed for being “greedy”?
Or does that only apply to teachers and nurses fighting for fair pay?#EnoughIsEnough
— Enough is Enough (@eiecampaign) February 2, 2023
Journalist and satirist David Osland spoke up for elderly people facing fuel poverty under the current economic system:
Shell's profits are £32bn. And pensioners are freezing to death.
— David__Osland (@David__Osland) February 2, 2023
And comedian Jolyon Rubenstein pointed out that the Tories had failed to impose a windfall tax on Shell’s past mega-profits. However, he didn’t mention that Shell also received a tax rebate in 2022:
SHELL announce record profit of £40B
The same SHELL the government refused to impose a windfall tax on.
The same shell which is getting “Government subsidies”.
Your money. Your tax.
— Jolyon Rubinstein (@JolyonRubs) February 2, 2023
Meanwhile, Greenpeace staged a protest this morning outside Shell’s UK HQ. Protesters demanded that the global corporation stop drilling and start paying their taxes:
🚨 BREAKING: Shell has just announced record breaking annual profits of more than £32 BILLION.
So we paid their HQ a visit to deliver a message: STOP DRILLING, START PAYING.#MakeShellPay pic.twitter.com/e4WsVNFIHf
— Greenpeace UK (@GreenpeaceUK) February 2, 2023
Activist group Just Stop Oil said the government had ignored the evidence of the dangers of fossil fuel to allow Shell’s outrageous profits:
It's 2023. We've known for decades that continuing to burn fossil fuels will kill millions through famine, drought and displacement.
And instead of leading change, our government allows Shell to make £1000 a second.
Thanks for crunching the numbers @bbcnickrobinson.
— Just Stop Oil (@JustStop_Oil) February 2, 2023
Meanwhile, anthropologist and activist Philip Proudfoot also referred to the wave of strikes currently taking place in the UK. He suggested that – just maybe – there was a connection between out-of-control capitalism and militant workers:
Yesterday, teachers, lecturers, and rail workers marched across the country demanding a simple pay rise inline with inflation. Today Shell announces £32,200,000,00 profits, the highest in 115 years.
Maybe there's a problem here?
— Philip Proudfoot (@PhilipProudfoot) February 2, 2023
The Tories have made it very clear which side they’re on. Fossil fuel firms are ruining the planet while raking in obscene amounts of money for a handful of bosses and shareholders, while Sunak’s government just looks on.
And while that is the case, Tories and their supporters have absolutely nothing worthwhile to say about teachers, rail workers, postal workers, university staff, and healthcare staff going out on strike. While their CEO pals are lining their pockets, the rest of us are fighting for our lives.
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/Steven Lek, cropped to 770 x 403, licenced under CC By-SA
Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse
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