Shell profits halve after oil and gas price falls

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Shell has reported “obscene” profits of just over $5bn (£3.9bn) for the second quarter of the year, prompting outrage among campaigners and a protest at the company’s London headquarters.

The company’s second-quarter profits are down sharply from $11.5bn in the same months last year but climate activists have criticised the company’s plan to increase oil and gas production despite record-breaking temperatures across Europe triggered by the climate crisis.

The oil company blamed falling oil and gas prices as well as its lower volumes of fossil fuel production for the profit slump. Its trading arm was also less profitable, the company said.

Shell’s shareholders are still in line for multibillion-dollar payouts despite the weaker second-quarter profits. Shell’s chief executive, Wael Sawan, said the company would spend $3bn on buying back shares in the next three months and, subject to board approval, another $2.5bn after its third-quarter results.

Greenpeace activists targeted the company’s London headquarters, where they erected a billboard featuring Shell’s logo and the slogan “Our profit, your loss” on Thursday morning.

Maja Darlington, a campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “While millions attempt to rebuild their lives after months of extreme weather wreaked havoc from Rhodes to Rajasthan, Shell is upping oil and gas production, slashing investment in renewables and posting billions of dollars in profits.”

According to an analysis by Global Witness Shell’s investment in oil and gas projects for 2023 is predicted to climb to £11.3bn, marking a 10% increase from the previous year. These investments are set to rise by another 7% next year, according to the analysis of data from the consultancy Rystad.

George Dibb, the head of the Centre for Economic Justice at the thinktank IPPR, said Shell had proven its commitment to putting profits and shareholders “over our planet”.

“It continues to make huge amounts of money off the back of the war in Ukraine and high energy prices. Meanwhile, incredibly, Shell is now paying more out to its shareholders in dividends and buybacks than it makes in profit, clearly prioritising these transfers over investing a net zero future,” Dibb said.

Izzie McIntosh, a climate campaigner at Global Justice Now, said: “As extreme heat rips through large parts of the globe, and people still struggle to pay their bills, Shell has once again made obscene profits out of fuelling climate disaster.

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Shell was accused of a “profiteering bonanza” by critics earlier this year after it made record first-quarter profits of nearly $10bn and showered shareholders with more than $6bn, even as oil and gas prices tumbled from last year’s highs.

Last year the FTSE 100 company made adjusted profits of $11.5bn during the second quarter of the year, beating its previous high by 25% as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine caused global energy markets to soar.

Global oil and gas market prices have tumbled since reaching a peak last year. The global oil price averaged $76.60 a barrel in the last quarter, down sharply from an average of about $112 in the second quarter of last year as Russia’s attack on Ukraine intensified.

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