Oil company Shell has reported record profits of $11.5 billion, doubling profits in a single year amid rising energy prices.
This is up from $5.5 billion in April-June 2021 — a $6 billion increase in earnings — and up from $9.1 billion in the first quarter of 2022.
The oil giant posted a fourteen-fold increase in quarterly earnings earlier this year, which had reignited calls for a windfall tax to ease the burden on struggling families amid the deepening cost-of-living crisis.
Commenting on the announcement on Twitter, political economist Richard Murphy said: “As I said, when this cost of living crisis started, price hikes didn’t go into a black hole. They went somewhere.
“And just as I predicted it was going to be about corporate profits somewhere, the divisions and tensions in our society massively increased.”
The average household could face an energy bill of £500 in January 2023, with a forecast annual price cap of £3,850, which, according to utilities consultancy BFY Group, far exceeds the already dire forecasts of rising bills made earlier this year.
The forecast was made against the backdrop of Russia’s incessant invasion of Ukraine and its subsequent action to disrupt gas supplies to Europe, which has further crippled the market.
Ben van Beurden, Shell Chief Executive Officer, said: “With volatile energy markets and the ongoing need for action to tackle climate change, 2022 presents significant challenges for consumers, governments and businesses alike.
“As a result, we are using our financial strength to invest in the security of energy the world needs today, take real, bold steps to reduce carbon emissions, and transform our business into a low-carbon energy future.”
The company also said it would conduct a $6 billion share buyback program in the third quarter, which would bring in more cash for investors.
“The strong oil price backdrop has helped Shell deliver a series of blockbuster results. The dividend may have stayed the same, but the share buyback program is positive news for shareholders,” said Stuart Lamont, investment manager at Brewin Dolphin.
Shell’s record-breaking quarter comes as British Gas owner Centrica saw operating profit fivefold to £1.34bn as energy bills soared.
The company said its interim results for 2022 showed profits up fivefold in the six months ended June compared to the same period in 2021.
Chris O’Shea, Group Chief Executive, said Centrica will continue to support its customers “through the most challenging energy crisis in living memory.”