Shell posts huge profit as calls for windfall tax grows

Shell's profits surpassed expectations. Credit: PA

Oil giant Shell has posted a better-than-expected first quarter profit haul of £7.2 billion as demands grow for a windfall tax on the sector.

Meanwhile, energy bills have soared for customers across the UK as millions deal with a cost-of-living crisis.

Just this week, Boris Johnson rejected further calls to impose a windfall tax on the huge profits of oil and gas companies to fund support for those struggling.

"If you put a windfall tax on the energy companies, what that means is that you discourage them from making the investments that we want to see that will, in the end, keep energy price prices lower for everybody," he told ITV's Good Morning Britain.

How much money has Shell made?

The group followed BP’s lead with a bumper set of underlying earnings for the first three months of 2022, nearly three times the £2.5 billion reported a year earlier thanks to surging oil and gas prices.

Like its FTSE 100 Index rival, Shell also revealed the cost of its move to pull out of Russian oil and gas activities due to the Ukraine war as it booked a £3.1 billion charge.

Despite this, it still saw current cost of supply (CCS) earnings attributable to shareholders jump to £4 billion in the quarter, up from £3.4 billion a year ago, though it was down 38% on the previous three months.

Ben van Beurden, chief executive of Shell, said: “The war in Ukraine is first and foremost a human tragedy, but it has also caused significant disruption to global energy markets and has shown that secure, reliable and affordable energy simply cannot be taken for granted."

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He added: “The impacts of this uncertainty and the higher cost that comes with it are being felt far and wide.

“We have been engaging with governments, our customers and suppliers to work through the challenging implications and provide support and solutions where we can.”

'Government must impose windfall tax'

Shadow minister Ed Miliband accused the government of "shamefully" refusing to act, arguing a windfall tax would help to cut bills.

“Even the boss of BP has said that this will not impact investment," he said.

"The Conservatives have run out of excuses, and been exposed for the political choice they are making by not acting.

“The truth is that the government’s priority is protecting oil and gas giants, not supporting the British people."