Big oil profits soar to $0.281 trillion amidst Ukraine crisis

Daily News Egypt
2 Min Read

A new analysis by Global Witness reveals that European and US oil and gas majors have raked in a staggering $281bn in profits since the Russia-Ukraine war two years ago. This windfall, driven by soaring energy prices, coincides with mounting criticism of the industry’s profiteering amidst human suffering and the climate crisis.

Shareholder Bonanza Fuels Debate

The “Big Five” fossil fuel companies – Shell, BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and TotalEnergies – distributed an unprecedented $200bn to shareholders in 2023 alone. This figure dwarfs the $1.2bn pledged to vulnerable nations at the COP28 climate summit, highlighting a stark contrast in priorities.

War Fuels Profits, Fuels Doubts

Russia’s invasion exacerbated an already volatile energy market, leading to skyrocketing gas prices and historic gains for oil and gas producers. This prompted accusations of “war profiteering” from world leaders like US President Biden, while UN Secretary-General Guterres condemned the industry’s stranglehold on humanity.

Profits Amidst Hardship

The staggering profits stand in stark contrast to the human cost of the conflict. While Ukrainian civilians bear the brunt of the war, European households grapple with soaring energy bills. Meanwhile, Shell and BP, UK-based oil giants, amassed a combined £75bn in profit – enough to cover British household electricity bills for 17 months.

Investment Choices Raise Red Flags

The industry’s priorities raise further concerns. Shell recently backtracked on reducing oil output despite the climate crisis, while BP weakened its emissions reduction pledge. Meanwhile, Chevron and ExxonMobil’s planned mega-acquisitions threaten to increase combined emissions by 20%, exceeding those of Brazil, Australia, and Spain combined.

Climate and Ethics Collide

The analysis concludes with a poignant statement by Patrick Galey, senior fossil fuels investigator at Global Witness: “The fossil fuel industry is profiting from death, destruction, and spiralling energy prices while failing customers and the planet.” This sentiment reflects the growing ethical debate surrounding the industry’s actions and priorities amidst war and climate change.

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