Oil & gas supermajor Shell exceeded market hopes, posting record profits of £7.6 billion for the first three months of the year, it told investors this morning.

Beating the £7.2 billion it earned in last year’s comparable period, the figure defied recent falls in wholesale commodity prices, exceeding analysts’ expectations by as much as 20%.

Results from Europe’s biggest fossil fuel extractor come in the same week as its rival BP posted its own £4 bn profits for 2023’s opening months.

Improved performance in Shell’s trading, chemicals & products divisions outpaced recent declines in wholesale gas and oil prices, Europe’s biggest fossil fuel extractor said.    It plans to reward investors with a further $ 4 billion of share buybacks.

New chief executive Wael Sawan said the company had delivered “strong results and robust operational performance, against a backdrop of ongoing volatility”.

Global oil prices averaged $81.7 a barrel in the year’s first three months, Shell noted, against $102.2 over the same period in 2022.

As with BP, Shell’s results led to fierce reaction from environmentalists and anti-poverty campaigners.

Development charity Christian Aid cited its recent survey, which found that that nearly four in five UK adults agreed that it is wrong for oil and gas companies to make record profits without taking responsibility for their role in causing the climate crisis.

More than six in 10 of respondents believed that the government should tax fossil fuel profits to help pay compensation to communities facing the impacts of the climate crisis, said the charity.

“Record profits by fossil fuel companies like Shell and BP should be a wake-up call, and spur real accountability for the damage they are causing”, chief executive Patrick Watt told the Guardian.

“That’s not just Christian Aid’s view, it’s the view of an overwhelming majority of the British public”.

“The UK government should be ensuring that major polluters meet their moral responsibility to repair the damage they have caused to the climate”, said the campaigns boss.


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