Analysis of Shell Q3 profits shows their 12 month windfall profits could pay for 12.5 million UK energy bills

27th October 2022, London – UK-based fossil fuel giant Shell has made £31 billion in excess profits over the past twelve months, while Brits have seen energy bill hikes drive an acute cost of living crisis, according to Global Witness analysis of the company’s third quarter profits reported today. (1)

This is money Shell has made in addition to their “normal,” but already high, profits, and was spurred by high global energy prices. See notes for full methodology. It could pay for:

  • The energy bills of 12.5 million British households, or
  • Almost half of the £68 billion the government needs to help its citizens with high energy bills, or
  • Heat pumps for 2.1 million UK homes, that would protect families from energy price volatility, or
  • The energy bills of everyone on universal credit; plus emergency aid for all 19 million Yemeni’s caught in one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters; plus emergency shelter for all of the victims of Pakistan’s climate crisis caused floods – and still leave £17.1 billion in excess profits for Shell’s shareholders. (2)

These extraordinary windfalls come as Shell announced overall adjusted earnings of $9.5 billion this quarter, a slight drop from its record last quarter, but much higher than the company has averaged in recent years. This at a time when the UK government debates how best to support its citizens through a cost-of-living crisis that could see 3 million more British people – and 30% of all UK children – living in poverty from next year.

Jonathan Gant, Fossil Fuels Campaigner at Global Witness, said:

“Life is becoming harder and harder for people in Britain. Pensioners are going cold, children are going to school hungry, and people are scared for what winter will bring. There are no such concerns for Shell’s executives, who will be continuing to enjoy the high life while the rest of us suffer.

“What makes this disparity between people and polluters even more shocking is that it is companies like Shell that are both the architects and beneficiaries of our broken energy system, which has created this crisis. It is our deep dependence on the dirty fossil fuels that have made Shell so rich that is now impoverishing millions of people.

“As Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt look for ways to support their citizens, it should be blindingly obvious that energy firms are sitting on an untapped gold mine. It’s time to stop punishing people for a system they didn’t create and take the money this country desperately needs from the immense profits Shell and other energy companies are enjoying.”

As Brits spent the summer months scaling back on holidays, feeling the economic pinch, Shell executives were flying around the world on the company’s three £45 million private jets. Between June and September Shell’s private planes were spotted flying to 17 different countries, including a brief stop in the French riviera in August. (3)

Asked by Global Witness for comment on its huge profits, Shell did not respond.

Global Witness is calling on the UK government to put an end to the enormous political and economic power yielded by fossil fuel giants like Shell. In the meantime, it must urgently tax their windfall profits, put an end to new oil and gas projects, set phase-out dates for fossil fuels, boost renewable energy infrastructure, and protect UK citizens against a cost-of-living crisis that has fossil fuel dependency at its heart.