Soaring oil prices send Shell profits rocketing by more than 50% to £68 billion

Shell's profits more than doubled in 2022 sparking fresh anger over the company's tax payments and the soaring cost of petrol - ITV News Reporter Pablo Taylor has the latest

Shell profits rocketed by 53% to $84.3 billion dollars (£68.1 billion) in 2022 due to soaring oil prices, the energy giant has announced.

The figure represents one of the highest profits ever recorded by a UK company, and has fuelled fresh anger over the amount of tax paid by the oil giant.

The profit announced Thursday represented the company’s highest in its 115-year history and surpassed the expectations of industry experts.

Shell also announced its shareholders would get a 15% dividends payment increase and four billion dollars (£3.2 billion) worth of new share buyback options.

Political and environmental campaigners criticised the profit jump as “obscene” and “outrageous” as UK households face soaring energy costs. It comes amid continued questions over the scale of windfall taxes on energy producers, which have benefited from higher prices.

The London-listed oil major told investors that adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) leapt 53% against the previous year, after energy prices were catapulted higher following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Adjusted earnings, including taxes, more than doubled to $39.9 billion (£32.2 billion). The figures are part of a debut set of results for Wael Sawan, who took over as chief executive at the start of the year.

Mr Sawan said: “Our results in Q4 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. “We believe that Shell is well positioned to be the trusted partner through the energy transition." Earlier this week, the new chief said it would combine its oil and gas production and liquified natural gas (LNG) divisions as part of an overhaul which will also cut the number of executive roles at the company.

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Shell’s latest profit haul will increase pressure on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to tax energy producers further, given the pressure on UK households.

Labour accused Mr Sunak of being “too weak” to stand up to oil and gas interests following Shell’s profit increase.

Shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband said: “As the British people face an energy price hike of 40% in April, the Government is letting the fossil fuel companies making bumper profits off the hook with their refusal to implement a proper windfall tax.”

Bumper profits made by producers in 2022 prompted the Government to launch a windfall tax, called the energy profits levy, which was later toughened up by Mr Hunt.

Shell said it paid USD $134 million (£109m) through the UK windfall tax last year, representing a fraction of its mammoth profit. It said it expects to pay more than $500m (£405.7m) due to the levy this year.

In response to energy giant Shell’s record profits on Thursday, the Liberal Democrats said Mr Sunak has failed to take action with a 'proper' windfall tax. Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey said: “Families across the country are struggling to heat their homes and feed their families and this government turns round and says ‘there is nothing we can do’. “They must tax the oil and gas companies properly and at the very least ensure that energy bills don’t rise yet again in April.”

The Trades Union Congress called for the energy profits levy, which went up from 25% to 35% in January, to be increased further.

“These obscene profits are an insult to working families,” said TUC general secretary Paul Nowak.

“The Government must impose a larger windfall tax on energy companies. Billions are being left on the table.”

Campaigners from Greenpeace said Shell is “profiteering from climate destruction” after the record profit haul.

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