The energy giant, BP, today (8 February) announced profits of $12.8bn, the highest level in eight years, leading to renewed calls for a windfall tax on fossil fuel companies to cover the cost of rising energy bills.
Surging oil and gas prices have led to large consumer energy price hikes in the UK with the typical household expected to see its electricity and gas bill rise by £693 (54 per cent) this April.
Despite calls from opposition politicians, the government has ruled out a one-off windfall tax on energy companies’ profits. The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has instead announced a £150 council tax rebate and a £200 loan to help offset energy bills.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, the Liberal Democrat leader, Ed Davey, said: “It simply cannot be right these energy companies are making super profits while people are too scared to turn their radiators on and terrified there will be a cold snap.”
BP is not the only oil and gas company to have posted surging profits for 2021. Shell, ExxonMobil and Chevron also recently announced their highest earnings since 2014. Shell said last week it had earned $19.3bn in 2021, while ExxonMobil and Chevron posted profits of $23bn and $15.6bn.
In 2020, BP reported a loss of $5.7bn as the Covid-19 pandemic reduced demand for energy, hitting fossil fuel producers.