Shell fuels calls for windfall tax with record profits haul

Shell has revealed record first-quarter profits thanks to soaring oil and gas prices in an update set to further fuel demands for a windfall tax on the sector.

The oil giant joined rival BP in posting better-than-expected underlying earnings for the first three months of 2022, at 9.1 billion US dollars (£7.2 billion) – nearly three times the 3.2 billion dollars (£2.5 billion) reported a year earlier.

It comes as calls mount from Labour and the Liberal Democrats for a windfall tax on oil and gas firms to help ease the cost-of-living crisis.

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The sector is reaping the benefits of rocketing oil and gas prices, which have been pushed to record levels by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and surging demand as economies emerge from the pandemic.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has so far resisted pressure to make the firms pay more tax, instead looking to companies making big profits to invest the cash back into the UK.

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak has so far resisted pressure to make the firms pay more tax, instead looking to companies making big profits to invest the cash back into the UK.

Like its FTSE 100 Index rival BP, Shell’s figures also showed a hit from its move to pull out of Russia due to the Ukraine war as it booked a 3.9 billion dollar (£3.1 billion) charge.

Despite this, it still saw current cost of supply (CCS) earnings attributable to shareholders jump to 5 billion dollars (£4 billion) in the quarter, up from 4.3 billion dollars (£3.4 billion) a year ago, though it was down 38% on the previous three months.